The beginning of this week's Torah reading uses the word terumah, meaning an offering or donation, three times. These three occurrences correspond to three types of offering: The first was the donation of shekels in which each man over twenty gave half a shekel coin towards the general funds. The second was the donations allotted towards the silver foundation-sockets of the Tabernacle, in the desert. The third was the general donations in which every man, woman and child donated as much as their hearts' desire toward the building of the Sanctuary. These included cedar wood for the walls, cloth and fur for the hangings, gold, silver and copper, and more.

The half-shekel offering symbolizes the idea that we can only accomplish so much by ourselves. At some point we need to join together with another person and work together, by doing so we become "whole."

The second offering was for the foundation of the entire Sanctuary. Just as the sockets were the lowest part of the Sanctuary, yet they formed the foundation on which everything stood, so too we all have a basic recognition, acceptance and desire to fulfill G‑d's will, based on the fact that on a soul-level we all stem from the same essence. That is why both of these offerings disregard a person's economic standing, placing everyone on the same, uniform level. Like the sockets, in our own lives, this basic level forms the foundation of everything above it.

The third category is described as being "as the heart desired," in whatever area the person was able or desired to give.

A person wishes to give to "their hearts' desire" — it is simply necessary to find the key, the particular area in which that person can contribute. This is why the Torah tells us that those who were able to give gold, gave gold; those who were able to give silver, gave silver, and so on.

G‑d gives us material possessions in order to transform them into spiritual ones. To do this with a full heart, to our "hearts' desire," the giving has to be commensurate with our personal abilities and talents. In essence we are all alike, but when it comes to specific talents, each of us has a different area which our heart desires. We contribute best in the areas we excel in. The Torah recognizes this and instructs us to give in a way that recognizes our personal strengths and uses them to their fullest.