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The Torah's Weekly Portions
Exodus/Shmot - Trumah 101
Posted February, 2001
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Sefer (Book)

Shmot (Exodus)

Beginning Perek (Chapter):

Chav-Hay (25)

Beginning Pasuk (Verse):

Aleph (1)

Concluding Perek:

Chav-Zayen (27)

Concluding Pasuk:

Yud-Tet (19)

Key Points of Parashat Trumah  
This Weeks Psukim  
The Focus of the Week  
Commentary from the Stone Edition Chumash  
Commentary by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch  
Commentary by Reb Yosef  

Key Points of Parashat Trumah:  

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This entire Parashah deals with the construction of the Tabernacle and the various things to be used there. For many, Trumah tends to be boring in that it is quite technical and terms of the instructions for the things that will be required, construction of the garments for the Kohen Gadol (Great or High Priest), Ark, Tabernacle, and so forth. Yet, interestingly enough, the second and third psukim (verses) of this Parashah tells us something important. This Week's P'sukim - 

Perek Chav-Hay (25):

  1. This is the portion that you shall take from them - gold, silver, and copper:

  2. and turquoise, purple, and scarlet wool; linen and goat hair:

  3. red-dyed ram skins, tachash skins, acacia wood:

  4. oil for illumination, spices for the anointment oil and the aromatic incense:

  5. shoham stones and stones for the settings, for the Ephod and the Breastplate:

  6. They shall make a Sanctuary for Me -- so that I may dwell among them:

Translation by: Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash.  

The Focus of this Week:  
The donations made by the people were given with a generous heart and for the people, for Klal Yisrael.  

Commentary from the Stone Edition Chumash:  
(2) And let them take for Me. Rashi comments that the term for Me indicates that people should contribute for the Tabernacle purely for the sake of God's Name, not because of social pressure or in quest of honor. 

Since the people were asked to contribute, why does the verse say take instead of give? Sforno comments that this command was directed to the leaders, who were directed to take, i.e., make collections, from the masses -- not to levy a tax on them, but to request voluntary contributions. However, as noted above, the people did not wait to be asked; they flooded the treasurers with their generous contributions. 

Homiletically, many comment that by contributing to God's causes, a Jew truly takes for himself, for personal benefit of generosity is far greater than its cost. 

Trumah -- Portion. The true sense of the word has no English equivalent. It implies a separation of a portion of one's resources to be set aside (Rashi) for a higher purpose. The root of the word is rum (resh vav mem/sofit), to uplift (R' Hirsch). Thus, the effect of these contributions was to elevate the giver and his concept of the purpose of the wealth with which God had blessed him. 

Commentary by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch:  
Nothing is to be given directly to God, but the gifts of each individual are to be given to the community, for the Divine purposes. This implies that it is not the individual, but the community, who has to erect the institutions for God's purposes, and it is not for single givers but for the community that these arrangements have to be established. Trumah (tav resh vav mem hay) is from rom (resh vav mem) meaning to be raised above something, henche "lifted up out of," i.e., to be separated for some higher purpose. The Hebrew further goes on to identify that the commandment from God is "to incite to make a gift." It denotes the most complete freedom of will and includes Moshe (Moses) himself in the general community. 

Commentary by Reb Yosef:
This seems to be, perhaps, a blueprint for our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. It is built upon a single premise - we, as Jews, no matter our heritage or history, religion or practice, are a community. We are one people and our success or failure appears to be tied into our recognizing this fact and living by it.


Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

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