For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering." (Ex. 25:2)

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi: "and have them take for Me"
dedicated to My name

...G‑d possesses the entire universe.

Siftei Chachamim: The word "li"/for Me" cannot be understood as implying ["to me" like its usual sense], that the contribution must be given to G‑d in the sense that He did not previously own it, for G‑d possesses the entire universe.

Rashi: "teruma/separation"
They shall set apart from their property an offering for Me.

Siftei Chachamim:In other contexts this word teruma means raising

Rashi: "you shall take My offering"
Our Rabbis said: [The word teruma, mentioned three times, denotes that] three offerings are mentioned here. One is the offering of a beka [half-shekel] per head, from which they made the sockets. Another is the offering of a beka per head for the [community] coffers, from which to purchase the communal sacrifices, and another is the offering for the Tabernacle, each one’s [Israelite’s] donation. The thirteen materials mentioned in this section were all required for the work of the Tabernacle or for the garments of the kohanim, [as you will find] when you study them.

Siftei Chachamim:The 3 offerings are not stated here explicitly. They are alluded to by the 3 appearances of "my teruma" in this verse and the next.

Remez (hinted meaning):

Baal HaTurim: "Teruma"
The letters of this word can be rearranged to spell ToRaH + Mem, for the Torah which was given in 40 days was given to those who eat Terumah.

"they shall take for me"
the gematria of li/"for me" is 40, allusion to the generous person's donation of 1/40 of his crop as Terumah.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

Ohr HaChayim: The moral dimension of this verse may have to do with the attachment of the soul to G‑d. Such a relationship may be reinforced by means of a tangible gift towards the construction of the Tabernacle. The collective soul of Israel is known as Terumah. This is based on: "Israel is Holy to G‑d, the first of his harvest". (Jeremiah 2:3) The word Reishit is often applied to Teruma. Thus acceptance of a tangible gift by the Jewish people achieves that the Shechinah will dwell in Israel. Thus the words "take for Me teruma" refer to the Shechinah which is called Terumah of G‑d.

Ramban: If one looks carefully at the verses mentioned at Giving of the Torah and understands what we have written about them, will see the secret of the Tabernacle and the Holy Temple later built by King Solomon. He will be able to understand it from what Solomon said in his wisdom said in his prayer in the Holy Temple: "G‑d, the G‑d of Israel" (I Kings 8:23) just as it is said on Mount Sinai, "And they saw the G‑d of Israel". (Ex. 24:10) Solomon added the Name G‑d because of what we hinted to earlier [in verse 24:10] for "the G‑d of Israel sits upon the Cherubs", (II Kings 19:15) just as it was said: "And the glory of the G‑d of Israel was over above them. This is the living animal that I saw under the G‑d of Israel by the river Kevar, and I knew they were Cherubs." (Ezekiel 10:19-10)

David also said, "and gold for the pattern of the chariot even the Cherubs that spread out their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of G‑d". (I Chron. 28:18) Solomon also mentioned that the Holy Temple was to be for "the name of G‑d" (I Kings 5:19) or "for Your Name", (8:44) and at each place of his prayer he said, "then You shall hear in heaven", (8:32) with the attribute of Mercy. Moreover it is written, "If Your people go out to battle against their enemy...and they pray to G‑d toward the city which You have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Your Name, then You shall hear in heaven." (8:44-45) Solomon expounded "but will G‑d truly dwell with man on the earth?" Now, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot hold You!" (II Chron. 6:18) About the ark it is written, "And David stood bring from there the ark of G‑d, which on is called the Name, even the Name of G‑d Tzevakot that sits upon the Cherubs". (II Samuel 6:2) Too, in Chron. it is written "to bring from there the ark of the G‑d, G‑d Who sits on the Cherubs, where is called the Name." (13:6) G‑d is the one Who sits on the Cherubs. one should feel compelled to give...more than his heart wants him to give.

Maggid Mesharim: G‑d perhaps wanted this gift to be taken by Israel and not the erev rav/mixed multitude. That is why it says "Speak to the Children of Israel, let them take for Me a voluntary offering." That is, Israelites should take the voluntary offering—they should collect it. And from whom? "From every man" means including the mixed multitude. Each should give what "his heart impels him", meaning no one should feel compelled to give, even if only because of verbal admonishment, more than his heart wants him to give. To reveal that this is the intention there is repetition "take the voluntary offering for Me." You should be the collectors and not the mixed multitude. Whatever you take will be called "My voluntary offering."

Baal Shem Tov: "whose heart impels him to give":
Consider well what your heart impels you. This is a basic lesson in life to learn from your own heart and to choose what your work is and then to put your entire heart in your work.

R. Tzvi Hersh Romanov: Torah-Mem is the Torah acquired by 40 days of preparation. The Torah achieved this way is a Terumah, a gift suddenly appearing in the heart. (Peninei HaChassidut)

R. Avraham of Sokhachov: "whose heart inspires him to generosity"
The gift to the Tabernacle was to be volunteered, not brought in response to a command. In order for the Shechinah to rest, love was required to be present, which needed a generosity of spirit. Since the Tabernacle was to be a place of resting for the Shechinah, there was no place for commands here. (Peninei HaChassidut)

Slonimer Rebbe: "whose heart inspires him to generosity"
a real mentsch gives not only money, but also his heart, to G‑d.

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning): is good for a person to strive after the Holy One, blessed be He...

Zohar Teruma:
Rabbi Shimon opened his discourse saying: "That they bring Me an offering, of every man whose heart prompts him to give". "That they bring Me" that if one wishes to undertake a precept and to aspire towards the Holy One, blessed be He, it is necessary that the person not strive in vain and empty handed, but rather that he makes efforts as befitting, and according to, his strengths. We have established this in many places, it is good for a person to strive after the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written: "Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of G‑d your Elokim which He has given you" (Deut. 16:17).

And if you ask, is it not written: "Come, buy, and eat; come, buy wine and milk without money and without a price"? (Isaiah 55:1) So we see that it is free, and that is the striving after the Holy One, blessed be He. Anybody who desires to endeavor for Torah merits it. The striving after the Holy One, blessed be He, is to know Him; for anyone who desires it will merit it without any payment whatsoever. But if the striving after the Holy One, blessed be He, is in the form of an action, it is prohibited to perform that action empty handed and in vain, because one will not merit the drawing down of a spirit of holiness unless he pays in full.

In the books of sorcery that Asmodeus taught King Solomon, whoever wants to endeavor to remove from himself the impure spirit and to subdue the other spirit must buy in full payment the action in which he wishes to endeavor, and he should give whatever is requested of him, whether a little or a lot. The spirit of impurity is always ready freely and for nothing and is saleable without payment, because he compels people upon whom he dwells and entices them to dwell with him. He tempts them to make their habitation with him in many ways.

The spirit of holiness is not this way, but only with full payment and great endeavor, and by purifying himself and purifying his habitation with the desire of his heart and soul. Fortunate is he who merits that he will place its habitation with him. With all this, to go in the straight path, neither turning right nor left. If he does not, He separates itself immediately and distances itself from him, and he will not again be able to merit it as he did originally.

In reference to this, it is written: "That they bring Me an offering, of every man..." one called 'man' who has overcome his inclination, for whoever overcomes his inclination is called 'man'. "Whose heart prompts him": What does "whose heart prompts him" mean? Rather that the Holy One, blessed be He, takes pleasure in him, as it is written: "Of You my heart has said"; (Ps. 27:8) "the strength of my heart" (Ps. 73:26), "of a merry heart" (Prov. 15:15) and "His heart was merry". (Ruth 3:7) They all refer to the Holy One, blessed be He. Here also, "Whose heart prompts him". From Him "shall you take My offering," because there is where is found and in no other place.

How do we know that the Holy One, blessed be He, wants him and places His dwelling place in him? When we see that the desire of the person I to endeavor to pursue the Holy One, blessed be He, with his heart and soul and desire. We are certain then that the Shechinah dwells there. Then we should pay in full to befriend him and to learn from him. About this, the ancients said, '...and acquire for yourself a friend.' You must buy him for a full price in order to merit the Shechinah. This is how far it is necessary to pursue a righteous man and purchase him.

In the same way, the righteous one must pursue the wicked person and purchase him for a full price in order to remove from him that filth, subdue the Other Side and build him, for it is considered as though he created him. This is a praise with which the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, will be elevated, more than with any other praise, and this elevation is quite in excess! What is the reason? Because he caused the Other Side to be subdued and to elevate the honor of the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written about Aaron: "And turned many away from iniquity" (Malachi 2:6) and also, "My covenant was with him". (2:5)
Everyone who holds the hand of the wicked person and endeavors to help him leave the path of evil is elevated in three elevations...
Come and see: Everyone who holds the hand of the wicked person and endeavors to help him leave the path of evil is elevated in three elevations, to which another person cannot rise. He causes the subjugation of the Other Side, he causes the Holy One, blessed be He, to be elevated in His honor and he causes the world to be preserved both above and below. About this person, it is written: "My covenant was with him for life and peace" and he merits to see the children of his children, and gains merit in this world and in the World to Come. All the accusers will not be able to judge him in this world and in the World to Come. He enters through the twelve gates and there is nothing to prevent him. It is written: "His seed shall be mighty upon earth; the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light rises in the darkness for the upright: He is gracious and full of compassion, and just..." (Ps. 112:2-4)

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
Terumah = Torah-Mem (40), 40 days for personal transformation, 40 days to receive a new inner Torah on how to deal with an aspect of life that needs correction, to achieve an inner balance. Perhaps that is why the Sages recommended 40 days for this self work. And anyone who has dieted, or tried an exercise regime, or quit smoking probably can see a difference after the 40 day mark. That relates to our teaching in Limnot Yameinu: Who knows 40? That 40/ letter Mem is the number for transformation. 40 nights and days of the Mabul/flood. 40 days til Matan/giving of the Torah. 40 years in the Midbar/desert. 40 se'ah/measurements in a kosher Mikveh/immersion pool. 40 years to bina, related to imma/mother. There is an inner knowledge gained by the 40/Mem. And this knowledge helps us to serve G‑d better, to give an offering, a Terumah of our self in desire to be closer, more G‑d-like, in our ways. "To acquire a friend"--G‑d— mentioned in the above Zohar, sometimes we need to get by with a little help from our Friend. Don't hesitate to seek support in your 40-day project from above. A little help on high goes a long way below.

And from last line of last week's portion,
"Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights."

In the spiritual realm to which Moses ascended while he was on the mountain, time is compressed such that a day there is equal to a year in our world. In essence, then, Moses was with G‑d for the equivalent of forty years.

According to the sages, forty years is the time it takes for a student to fully absorb his master's teachings. This is why Moses had to remain on the mountain for forty days. (From the Kehot Chumash, Shemot)

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