In this week’s reading, G-d tells Moses that the people should take a Terumah, an offering, for Him. It is a good time to speak about the importance of giving charity, especially in support of Torah learning, synagogues, schools and yeshivos which help us, as Jews, to connect to G-d. As Project Genesis prepares to unveil a special raffle for the pre-Passover season, the timing could hardly be better!
But the Beis HaLevi, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik of Brisk, tells us that it is no coincidence that this reading follows that of Mishpatim, which is primarily filled with interpersonal laws — many of which are financial. This teaches us, he says, that one must first conduct business in an honest way, and then give charity. If stolen money is donated to charity, that’s not a Mitzvah!
It is critical that we remember, at all times and in all situations, that how we handle money is as much a part of our Divine service as how we handle sacred objects. That’s why the Torah puts the Terumah, charitable giving, right after the interpersonal laws of Mishpatim!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org