Over the years, there have been many discussions concerning the following passage from this week’s Torah portion:
"That they take for Me an offering, of every man whose heart maketh him willing"
Why does the Torah say "take" and not "give?”
Firstly, we shall answer this question with a simple explanation of what we read:The Torah here is talking about the work of the Cohanim (priests) who take the money from the public. It does not talk about the people giving it, but about the Cohanim who collect the donations for the Temple, after all, the whole parasha (Torah portion) is about the Tabernacle, the Temple.
The passage concludes: "…of every man whose heart maketh him willing."
According to the simple explanation, the Cohanim only have to take donations from those who have the wish in their hearts to give it. It is not forced on anyone.
Rashi, in his commentary on Parashat Teruma, says that the word "maketh" indicates the person's "good will.”
To clarify whether this donation is a matter of desire, we review Ha'amek Davar interpretation, which is attributed to Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, head of Volozin Yeshiva. He wrote a brilliant interpretation that questions the word "maketh" linguistically. And he offers a surprising innovation:
When a man gives donation for a sublime cause (such as the Temple or any other sublime cause), he immediately becomes sanctified, even if he is forced to give the donation.
As the early commentators said, he who gives donation for a sublime cause, will be sanctified and be spiritually elevated, even if he is directed to make the donation.
· Nathan Roi, the Editor of our Hebrew website holds an MA with honors in Jewish Philosophy