Parshas Terumah

On the opening possuk of our Parsha , “And you should take for M. a donation (teruma) ….” the Medrash comments, “This is the meaning of the possuk, “Moshe commanded us (to keep the Torah), it is an inheritance of Yaakov’s community.”

Zera Shimshon asks, firstly, what is the difficulty in the possuk that the Medrash comes to explain. Secondly, how does the possukMoshe commanded us (to keep the Torah) it is a inheritance of Yaakov’s community” resolve this difficulty?

Zera Shimshon answers by pointing out an apparent contradiction between two Medrashim . The Medrash in Shir HaShirim says in the name of Reb Nechemia that when Bnei Yisroel heard Hashem say the first two commandments of the Ten Commandments they were freed of the yetzer horro. Unfortunately, they became scared and asked Moshe to be the intermediator. At that point, the yetzer horro returned.

The Medrash in Shemos, also in the name of Reb Nechemia, seemingly contradicts this. There it says that we were freed from the Angel of Death (which Chazal say is the yetzer horro) when Moshe came down from the Mountain with the Ten Commandments engraved on the Tablets!

When were we freed from it, when we heard the first two commandments directly from Hashem or when Moshe received the Ten Commandments?

Zera Shimshon answers that we were actually freed from the yetzer horro both times! The first time was when we heard the first two commandments from Hashem. It then came back when we asked Moshe to be the intermediator. After that Hashem gave us another chance and freed us again from it when H. gave to Moshe the Ten Commandments written on the tablets of stone. However during those 40 days when Moshe was on the mount we sinned and Hashem gave us back the yetzer horro. It will now be with us and try to make us sin until Meshiach comes.

According to this, there are two reasons that we have a yetzer horro, that encourages us to sin, today. One, is that we asked for Moshe to tell us the mitzvos and, two, that we didn’t use the forty days that Moshe was on the Mount properly.

Zera Shimshon introduces one more idea in order to explain the Medrash that we quoted in the beginning of this d’var Torah.

Chazal say that the Beis HaMikdash is called mishkan” because it is collateral that we will keep the Torah (the word for collateral in Hebrew is mashkon” and it is spelled with the same letters as mishkan). Meaning, when we sin Hashem takes the Beis HaMikdash back (in other words H. destroys it).

With these two ideas , Zera Shimshon explains the Medrash.

The Medrash was bothered by a question, “Why did the Torah call the donations for the building of the Mishkan, Terumah and not some other word?”

It answers because “Moshe commanded us (to keep the Torah),” and we didn’t receive it directly from Hashem. If we would have learnt the whole Torah directly from Hashem then we would have understood it right away and it would not have taken 40 days. However since, “Moshe commanded us (to keep the Torah),” it took forty days for him to learn the whole Torah to teach us. This is alluded to in the word terumah” that the Zohar teaches us contains the word Torah” and the Hebrew letter “mem” which has the numerical value of forty.

There still, though, remains another question. Why is it important to mention at the time of collecting to build the Mishkan that the Torah was given in forty days and not immediately?

The answer is that the Mishkan is also a mashkon (collateral) that we don’t sin. And like we mentioned before, the reason why the yezter horro exists and causes us to sin is because we didn’t act properly during those forty days.

Therefore when money was being collected for the mishkan” the Torah alludes to the time that caused us to need the Mishkan as a mashkon“!