Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ponderings of the Pentateuch #19 Feb. 5, 2011

RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Pentateuch
Parashah # 19: Terumah “Contributions/Heave Offering”
Shemot/Exodus 25:1-27:19
By: Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Exodus 25:1-9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. 

Have you ever noticed that Moses didn’t come down from the mountain crying alligator tears like a TV Evangelist, telling people that G-d commanded him to build a Tabernacle and telling the people that they better give or G-d will strike him down and refuse to bless him? There was no theaters, threats, guilt trips or sales pressure.

Instead we see G-d gave Moses a vision, Moses relayed this vision to the people, the people caught the vision and thus the people wanted to give.

Notice also that Moses didn’t claim the vision for himself or claim the Tabernacle building fund as his ministry; instead we see it was G-d’s vision and the people’ ministry.

Notice how the Tabernacle didn’t come descending down on a golden beam of heavenly light with a myriad of angels singing. Instead we see G-d saying, “LET THEM” and “THEY SHALL MAKE” in regards to the Tabernacle. In other words, the burden lay with the people if G-d’s vision of a Tabernacle was to ever come to fruition. G-d commands, we do. If the Tabernacle never got built it would not be G-d’s fault or Moses’ fault, but the fault of the people. G-d gave the vision, Moses relayed the vision, the people brought the vision to pass.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai he didn’t spend hours preaching on “tithes” or the “laws of sowing and reaping.” And he didn’t ask for a “faith pledge” or for them to “plant a seed into the ministry.” Moses didn’t ask for money in any denomination. Instead we see G-d allowed the motivation of the peoples heart to see a need, recognize that they alone could fill that need with what they had available to them.

Notice the goods donated were not just what could be seen or used as money (gold, silver, bronze) but also other common and domestic materials and goods (wool, colored thread, mirrors, etc.). This shows us that giving to G-d or His various ministries and ministers is not confined to monetary wealth, but we can also rightly give our time, talents and other materials resources.

Why were the people so eager to give? Because they desperately wanted the Divine Presence to dwell among them, and they knew only they could make it happen by giving materials that can be used to please and bring the Presence of G-d down.

If people see and know and are convinced that the vision or ministry G-d gave you will be a vehicle to bring His Presence to the people, you will not have to beg or solicit for funds. All you will have to do is share your vision ad people will want to give. They will want to directly be apart of setting the stage for His Presence to come and dwell amidst the people.

It will be like a King who visits the common people and say in passing, “It’s a bit chilly out here tonight,” to which virtually everyone will offer, “Please take my jacket Sire!” The people will be honored to have their gifts be used by the King.

If you find your having to beg or solicit funds, you might need question, is your ministry your vision or G-d’s.

If ministries would allow the people to give as Moses did you may find you will have a good problem on your hands and may have to actually tell the people to stop giving as Moses did!

Exodus 36:3-6 And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning. And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made; And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing.

However, sometimes, like Solomon, due to the people having been taken advantage of by crooked kings and priests, you have to recruit people in order to get the job done, and once it is compete and they see His Presence come down and will see you were right all along. And when the next vision comes along it will be easier for people to catch the vision and give.

Rav Sha’ul shows us that we can be an example unto others who may be reluctant to give to a vision or ministry. Again, Rav Sha’ul, like Moses leaves it up to the people on what to give and how much. The only requirement is one must give voluntarily and cheerfully.

II Cor. 9:6-7 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

To many times TV Evangelists and ministers try to do the Holy Spirits job and compelling the people to give and it turns into a guilt ridden, arm twisting mafia style treat for insurance. We are only to present the need and the opportunity to give. Leave the “sales pitch” up to the Ruach HaKodesh.

So here is the Vision and here is the Need:

Shabbat Shalom and Shavuah Tov!
-- Rabbi Yehudah