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Terumah: Giving with Joy

Terumah: Giving with Joy


Editor's Note:

Dear Friend,

This week marks the start of the Hebrew month of Adar.

My daughter came home from school singing a song I remember from my own kindergarten days: “Mishe mishe mishe . . . mishenichnas Adarrrrrrr!”—“When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy.” I doubt that she can translate the words, but one look at her face proves she has internalized their meaning. She’s simply delighted.

If tears and tantrums come easily to small children, so too does happiness. These little people feel safe knowing that they are protected, nurtured and loved. Why not be happy?

Adar features the holiday of Purim, a central theme of which is complete reliance on and faith in G‑d. This is epitomized by Queen Esther, who as an orphan bereft of a parent’s care knew that in G‑d alone lay her security. And when her nation was threatened, she inspired them to turn entirely to Him. With this absolute trust came salvation, and then great joy.

In this month, let us be children, feeling secure in G‑d’s protection, treasured by His love and deeply joyful.

Malkie Janowski,
Ask the Rabbi @

Two Narratives of Creation

The Torah describes two acts of creation: G‑d’s creation of the universe, and the Israelites’ creation of the Mikdash or Mishkan, the sanctuary that traveled with them in the desert, the prototype of the Temple in Jerusalem. The connection between them is not incidental.
What Was the Mishkan?

It was a portable sanctuary, a spiritual center in the desert. It was the place for sacrifices . . .
Seeking the Lost Mountain of Sinai?

Don’t we all remember the precise location where we proposed, or the hospital ward where our first child was born? How could we forget? And yet, somehow, we’ve lost touch with the place more important to our people than any other . . .
Terumah in a Nutshell
The Jews are commanded to gather materials for the building of the Tabernacle. Moses is given specific directions for its construction; it must be easy to dismantle and reassemble. The ark, the showbread table and the menorah, the tapestries, beam structure, etc., are described in detail.
Jewish Life
Can I Say That?

Since everybody knows that gossip is a highly contagious method of spreading hurt feelings, anger, jealousy, damaged reputations and fizzled relationships, why don’t we have warning labels on anyone transmitting the stuff?
Writer’s Block

It is not often that I am accused of being short on words. My problem is actually quite the opposite.
Last Chapters

I said yes immediately, afraid that if I thought about it first, I would lose the courage. The idea of sharing an entire night with someone straddling two worlds seemed awesome to me.
Exploring The Month of Adar

The Torah tells us not to pay attention to astrological influences, but it also tells us that Adar is a month full of “mazal” (good fortune). How do we reconcile these concepts?
Discovering Ezra and the Second Temple Period

After the seventy-year exile in Babylon, many of the Jewish people return to their homeland under the leadership of Ezra.
The Hidden G‑d

He’s in the ethereal world of the philosopher, and He’s in the pragmatic world of the trucker speeding down Interstate 86. He’s even in the putrid world of the worker digging out the city sewers down the street. So, why can’t I see Him?
The Beast Within

There’s a beast inside all of us. You’ve got to meet it eye to eye, in its own den.
The Rebbe
The Geometry of Time

How can a unit of time be defined as a day of rest, the very antithesis of time?
Question & Answer
What Is Gefilte Fish?

What is the origin of this famous traditional Shabbat food?
No One Can Hear the Megillah Reading . . .

May a microphone be used for the reading of the Scroll of Esther?
Beyond Space

“People travel here from great distances to see the Maggid, while I, who live here in Mezeritch, have never gone to see him even once. I really should do so, at least one time,” he thought.
Meat Kreplach with a Twist

Kreplach are traditionally eaten at the Purim meal. Try these delicious fried pockets filled with soft ground meat. Your family and friends will thank you!
Blazing Inspiration

. . . they met in the middle of the city, and it burned with the fire of their inspiration . . .
Young Students Write Torah Essays

Debating Jewish texts is almost as old as Judaism itself, and the recording of scholarly opinions on the texts has proliferated since the arrival of the printing press.
A Welcome Retreat for Jews in Recovery

“The camaraderie and fellowship of Jewish people involved in recovery lends itself to tremendous energy,” said Kessler.
It is written (Psalms 119:98): "From my foes have You given me wisdom." From the negative tendencies a person detects in his natural traits, he can become wise and know how to handle the correction of these traits, and how to subordinate his powers in the service of G-d.
— Hayom Yom, Nissan 8
Print Magazine

Truth is simple, it has no clothes, no neat little box to contain it.

But we cannot grasp that which has no box. We cannot perceive truth without clothing.

So Truth dresses up for us, in a story, in sage advice, in a blueprint of the cosmos—in clothes woven from the fabric of truth itself.

And then, before we can...