Parshas Terumah

(ב) דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי: (ג) וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת: (ד) וּתְכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי וְשֵׁשׁ וְעִזִּים: (ה) וְעֹרֹת אֵילִם מְאָדָּמִים וְעֹרֹת תְּחָשִׁים וַעֲצֵי שִׁטִּים: (ו) שֶׁמֶן לַמָּאֹר בְּשָׂמִים לְשֶׁמֶן הַמִּשְׁחָה וְלִקְטֹרֶת הַסַּמִּים: (ז) אַבְנֵי שֹׁהַם וְאַבְנֵי מִלֻּאִים לָאֵפֹד וְלַחשֶׁן: (שמות כה/ב-ז):

It is written in the beginning of the parsha, “Speak to Bnei Yisroel, and have them take for Me an donation; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My donation. And this is the offering that you shall take from them: (1) gold, (2) silver, and (3) copper; (4) blue, (5) purple, and (6) crimson wool; (7) linen and (8) goat hair; (9) ram skins dyed red, (10) tachash skins, and (11) acacia wood; (12) oil for lighting, (13) spices for the anointing oil and (14) for the incense; (15) shoham stones and (16) filling stones for the ephod and for the choshen“.(Shemos 25/2-7)

Rashi comments (possuk 2), “Our Rabbis said: [The word teruma– donation-mentioned three times, denotes that] three donations are mentioned here. One is the donation of a beka [half-shekel] per head, from which they made the sockets, as it is written in parshas Pekudai.

(The second one is referring to) the donation of a beka per head for the [community] coffers, from which to purchase the communal sacrifices.

And another one is the donation for the Mishkan, each one’s donation .

The thirteen materials mentioned in this section were all required for the work of the Mishkan or for the garments of the kohanim, [as you will find] when you study them closely.”

Zera Shimshon asks that why does Rashi say that there are only thirteen materials mentioned in our parsha. Count them and you will see that there are really sixteen materials mentioned!

Secondly, what is the connection between the first part of the Rashi, that there are three times that Bnei Yisroel brought donations, and the end part, that there are thirteen materials used in the Mishkan?

In order to understand the Zera Shimshon’s answer to these questions we need to first have some background.

There are two main categories of karbonos (sacrifices) that are brought in the Bais HaMikdash; a korbon tzibor (a communal sacrifice) and a korbon yacheed (a personal and privately owned sacrifice). The animal, wine, and flour of a korbon tzibor are bought with money collected from ALL of Klal Yisroel, either with the machtzis hasheckel (which everyone in Klal Yisroel gives around Rosh Chodesh Adar) or by EVERYONE donating some money when that korbon is needed.

There is an opinion in the Mishna (Shekalim 4/1) that an individual cannot buy a korbon and then give it to the whole community. Akorbon tzibor must be bought with money that belongs to everyone. His reasoning is that we cannot rely on an individual tototally relinquish his ownership on this animal and actually give it to the whole nation. In the depths of his heart he will feel that it is his korbon being sacrificed.

The Talmud Yerushalmi (ibid) qualifies this halacha. It says that we can’t take a korbon tzibuer from and individual only when that animal (or wine or flour) is a korbon itself. However anything needed only for the preparation of the korbon (machshirie korbon) he agrees that an individual can donate it and give it to the general tzibbur and we trust that he fully gave it.

According to this, explains, Zera Shimshon, we can explain the words of Rashi.

Rashi starts by saying that the last of the three “donations” was the “donation for the Mishkan, each one’s donation”. Meaning, that these were private donations, and therefore according to the above Tana in the Mishna, can only be used for machshirie korbon and not for a korbon itself.

Two materials out of the sixteen mentioned, the oil and the spices for the incense were a korbon itself and therefore could not come from a personal donation.

The silver that was donated was also not used in the building of the Mishkan or for the garments of the kohanim. Only the silver that was collected from all of Klal Yisroel was used to build the Mishkan. The silver that was collected was used to make different utensils needed in the Mishkan.

Since these three materials were either not taken as a donation or not used in the building of the Mishkan, Rashi’s words, “the thirteen materials mentioned in this section were all required for the work of the Mishkan or for the garments of the kohanim…” is precise!


דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי:

On the second 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“!


דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ לִי תְּרוּמָה מֵאֵת כָּל אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ תִּקְחוּ אֶת תְּרוּמָתִי:

On the second possuk in our parsha, “Speak to Bnei Yisroel and the they should take for M. a contribution”, Zera Shimshon asks that the term “take for me” (va’yikchu lee) doesn’t really fit with the object of the possuk “contribution”. Seemingly, a better choice of word is . (The one who relinquish the rights to something, like B’nei Yisroel, doesn’t take the contribution but rather gives it!)

He explains according to the Gemorra in Nedarim and in Chulin that at the time of the Bais HaMikdash righteous people did not consecrate an animal that they wanted to sacrifice immediately when they decided to bring a korbon.

Rather, they only choose the animal that they wanted to sacrifice, brought it to Yerushaliyam, and only there, when they were already next to the Bais HaMikdash, did they halachly consecrated it .

The reason for this is that they were afraid that they might accidentally use the animal and transgress the avairo of m’eila (using or benefitting from Hekdash).

Even though that on the one hand it is more virtuous to consecrate the korbon immediately than to wait; like this he won’t be able to back down from his promise. However the fear of these righteous people not to do an avairo overweighed this virtue.

This, explains Zera Shimshon, is what the possuk alludes to when it wrote “take for me” (va’yikchu lee) and not “give me a contribution” (va’yitnu lee). The word “take” implies that one brings into their ownership something that previously existed somewhere else.

Give, on the other hand, doesn’t presuppose any previous state.

The possuk therefore uses the term “take for me” (va’yikchu lee) to warn the people not to consecrate the materials that they bring for the building of the Mishkan until they are ready to use them. Rather they should designate what they want to give and only after that should they TAKE it, and give it for the building of the Mishkan. Like this they will not transgress the avairo of m’eila!

HaRav Shimshon Nachmaini, author of Zera Shimshon lived in Italy about 300 years ago in the time of the Or HaChaim HaKodesh.

The Chida writes that he was a great Mekubal and wrote many sefarim including sefarim about practical kabbolo but asked that all of his sefarim be burned after he passes away except for Zera Shimshon and Niflaos Shimshon on Avos.

He had one child who died in his lifetime (hence the name Zera Shimshon) and in the preface he promises for people who learn his sefarim after he dies ... And your eyes will see children and grandchildren like the offshoots of an olive tree around your tables, wise and understanding with houses filled with all manner of good things and wealth and honor

These d’vrai Torah are dedicated to Esther Yenta Bas Chana Chassia. In the merit of the learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai TorahHashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun.

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