How interesting! The commandment is not to “separate Terumah”, but a communal obligation to collect Terumah. “And they shall collect Terumah.”
Moshe descended from his 40-day time capsule in the Highest Heavens. He brought a gift with him; the Mishkan. The people were empowered by God to build a house for him. Moshe had clear and detailed instructions from God. Each detail was designed to correspond to the secrets Moshe had seen in Heaven. Only Moshe knew the plans. Only Moshe was granted the gift of seeing a “Model of Fire” of each part of the structure, each vessel, each piece of cloth and each piece of clothing.
What was his first job? What was the first step Moshe had to take in introducing the Mishkan, in describing this heavenly gift and unsurpassed opportunity?
To have the community establish a fund! No speeches. No lectures. No television mini-series describing the building. No campaign pamphlets.
Moshe’s job was to teach the nation that the community began by establishing a Terumah Committee.
The first step was for the community to function as a community. The first goal was to connect with each other. To accept mutual responsibility. To design a structure. To lay the foundation on which everything else would come.
The Mishkan – The Tabernacle – did not begin with the building, or even with the collected gold, silver and more. The House of God, the House for God built by the people began when they accepted to function as a community.
And there’s more…
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