Graphic by Aaron Newman ('24) and Rivka Reich ('24)

Parshat Terumah opens with ה׳’ instructing Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael to contribute to the building of the Mishkan: ​​”דַּבֵּר֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְיִקְחוּ־לִ֖י תְּרוּמָ֑ה מֵאֵ֤ת ל־אִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִדְּבֶ֣נּוּ לִבּ֔וֹ תִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־תְּרוּמָתִֽי׃”

Although “ויקחו” is understood as “give,” the word actually translates to “take.” Rav Kook highlights this seemingly peculiar instruction for Bnei Yisrael to take from themselves for the Mishkan, rather than to give. 

The root יקח is repeated three times to describe the process, emphasizing the necessary sacrifice of the giver, and thus, their essential roles in the construction; something will be taken from them, but of their own accord. 

Rav Kook uses this incident as the paradigmatic example of donating since it is the first time Bnei Yisrael gives collectively. Rav Kook gleams from the language the two beneficiaries of tzedakah: both the recipient and giver. The Torah is teaching that tzedakah fundamentally benefits the giver because in doing so, they are enhancing their spirituality. 

Rut exemplifies this important lesson. When Rut returns from the field, she tells Naomi that “הָאִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשִׂ֧יתִי עִמּ֛וֹ הַיּ֖וֹם בֹּֽעַז.” Despite Boaz being the one to help and support her, Rut tells Naomi that she worked: “עָשִׂ֧יתִי.” The Alshich explains Rut’s unconventional report. Rut provided Boaz with the opportunity to perform chessed, conveying the importance of the recipient in terms of the giver. The recipient is also doing a chessed in her own right by accepting the givers. 

With the war of our people taking place 6,000 miles away, it is easy for us to feel discouraged and helpless, but although we aren’t physically there, we are still viscerally and emotionally invested– and we can still help. For one thing, we have to remember that this is a multifront attack. We can defend our land through the power of social media and free speech, we can provide supplies through donation campaigns, and we can protect our soldiers through tefillot and limud Torah. 

There are so many incredible and innovative ways to support our land and people, and we know that it is all of us who will ultimately benefit together. 

This past week, KYHS had Stormania. It is three days of excitement, competition, and ruach. KYHS, however, did not lose sight of the fight a unified Klal Yisrael is grappling with right now. At the forefront of the events was our love and support for Israel conveyed through limud Torah and recitations of tehillim. Team Orange and Team Blue of chessed and tefillah represent what all members of our nation should be doing in the zchut of our battle. Just like Team Orange emerged victorious, so will מדינת ישראל. 


Shabbat Shalom,

Your Editor,

Sarah Posner ('23)

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