Terumah or truma means “special or elevated” offering/gift or donation. It is the produce tithe that Levites and Israelites would submit to the kohens in Temple times.
Terumah is also defined as an offering, as a gift, as a donation, as the choice part, as the best part…
Terumah according to Rashi means “setting aside.”
According to biblical law, Terumah consisted of several agricultural products: wheat, wine, and oil.
The rabbis decreed that terumah be separated from all other fruits and vegetables as well.
This week’s parsha is named after this setting aside or separating.
Giving Terumah involves at least 1 positive mitzva and 4 negative mitzvot: Positive #126 (to give terumah),
Negative #133 (A non-kohen may not eat terumah), Negative Mitzvah #134 (the kohen’s Jewish servants may not eat terumah), Negative Mitzvah #135 (an uncircumcised kohen may not eat terumah), and Negative Mitzvah #136 (a ritually impure kohen may not eat terumah).
At the time of this parasha,The building of the Tabernacle/Mishkan, was accomplished by the voluntary donations, compiling a positive mitzva, and, in a moment, that there was sufficient material and donations to complete the task, so Moshe called to halt the fundraising efforts.
Actually: How would I give Terumah?
- A Two Percent Cut
According to Halacha, terumah consisted of approximately one-fiftieth of one’s raw, unreserved produce—or two percent.
Setting that amount aside would be your first step.
- Specially Reserved
Once designated, terumah could not be used for anything else.
Accidental consumption by a non-kohen required restitution both physical and spiritual, as terumah provisions were sacred and off-limits to any non-kohen.
If we were asked, today, to make a terumah, what would happen?
We know that, both for religion and religious institutions, the money is necessary to survive, expand and become influential.
The fact is, that collecting money in donations, is nowadays regarded as a business to enrich a few, especially when it comes to religión, so many of us will refuse to do it.
It is not necessary to identify or enumerate the numerous cases that have led to individual and institutional pain and public embarrassment due to this type of action.
We will always demand transparency and honesty when it comes to public and charitable funds.
Moshe and his generation had the ability to transcend the seduction of money, no matter that God itemises the materials that Moshe will have to ask of the Israelites in order to build the Mishkan:
gold, silver, brass; blue, purple and crimson wool yarns; linen, goats’ hair, ram and dolphin skins; acacia wood, oil, spices; lapis lazuli and other gems.
Only the silver was not voluntary, but was levied by a half-shekel upon each adult Israelite.
Eventually, it is the Creator himself who is responsible for separating the pure silver from other materials, to give. to the fact, the sanctity it deserves, and of course giving the value to the rest of the elements.
Then, we should act as the jewish people did… GIVE, the terumah,
Because giving generously to worthy causes we become partners with Hashem, and in so doing, we stand to be repaid in ways we may never had dreamed.
It is also written in the Gemara (Ta’anis 9a): it says that in the merit of scrupulously separating our tithes we will become wealthy, and be given limitless blessings.
04 de Marzo de 2017 – 06 de Adar 5777
Compiled and revised by Dr Max Stroh for 321judaismo.com.
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