Eco Rabbi: Parshat Terumah – Give of Yourself to Make Room for Our Home

Each week Orthodox Jews read one segment of the Five Books of Moses so that they can complete the entire Five Books within the course of a year. In last week’s Eco-Rabbi post I discussed free trade and the commandments, this week I write about how to create room for God to live within us.

God asks Moses to request from the Jewish People that each person give a donation. Each according to the generosity of his heart. From those donations God commands that they make a sanctified place, Mikdash, in their camp. God promises that if they do so, He will live inside them.

God, who created the heavens and the Earth, the One who took His people out of Egypt cannot just make a home in the midst of the camp Himself?

Why did God, the one who arranged for a cloud of protection for His people in the desert for the day and a pillar of fire for night, the one who made food rain down on the People of Israel every morning, need for the people to donate their recently acquired riches to Him so that they could make Him a home in their camp?

The answer is that HE did not. God could have conceived the Mikdash, and it would have been there. His people DID need it.

We need to give of ourselves to feel connected with something. This is why it is not enough to only believe in Judaism. There are action commandments that we need to fulfill, give of ourselves, so that we can connect with God through them.

It is for this reason that the People of Israel had to give, of their new riches, and build the Mikdash themselves. Otherwise God could not have lived among them. It would have been another miracle to witness and not internalize. Hashem knew that this is how we work, and so he commanded that we donate of our possessions and talents to make a home for Him. And in doing so, we made a home in ourselves for Him as well, so he had then room to live within us.

If something is truly important to you, it is not enough to think about doing something for it. Donate a little of yourself to the cause and it will actualize in your life.

If our home, Earth, is truly important to you and you would like for it to be around for your children and children’s children, then it is important to act and do something to help clean up.

In the Torah it says that each person gave as the generosity of his heart would allow. This is true for people as well. Not everyone can give the same amount, and in the same ways. But it IS important that everyone give. So that they can make room in their hearts for a better world.

Image Credit: keithwills

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