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The opening verse of this Torah portion says, “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering.” (Ex. 25:2). Hashem demands different materials to be brought to Moses in order to build the tabernacle and the utensils. This is the simple and plain meaning of the text but the rabbis play with the Hebrew expression “Vaykechu Li Truma” and change the subject and the object. According to the Midrash, God said “Vaykechu Li (lit. take Me)”: “The Holy One said to them: The Torah was mine, and you undertook it. Take me along with it.” (Tanchuma Buber, Teruma 2). With a slight shift of Hebrew punctuation instead of reading, “Take for me” the rabbis in the Midrash read the text as saying, “Take me”.

Hashem owned the Torah and then He gave it to the Jewish people but now He is demanding that we don´t forget about Hashem and that we take Him with us too. What the rabbis are trying to remind us is that many times we can be observant Jews, following the laws of the Torah, without being religious Jews, without connecting with Hashem and without having Him in our thoughts. The biggest Truma (offering) we can give to Hashem is having Him with us, in our thoughts and in our actions, all the time.  

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Uri

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