Terumah 5780 – From Something to Nothing

Terumah 5780 – From Something to Nothing

“וַיְנַצְּל֖וּ אֶת־מִצְרָֽיִם – “and they emptied out Egypt…”

~Shemot 12:36

דַּבֵּר֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְיִקְחוּ־לִ֖י תְּרוּמָ֑ה מֵאֵ֤ת כָּל־אִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִדְּבֶ֣נּוּ לִבּ֔וֹ תִּקְח֖וּ אֶת־תְּרֽוּמָתִֽי:

“Speak to the children of Israel, and have them take for Me an offering; from every person whose heart inspires him to generosity, you shall take My offering.” ~ Shemot 25:2

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָֽׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם

“And they shall make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst” ~ Shemot 25:8 

קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ ה’ צְבָאוֹת מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ

“Holy, Holy, Holy, The Lord of Hosts, The entire world is filled with His Glory.” 

~ Yeshayahu 6:3 

“HaShem Yisbarach created this world in such a way that yeish (something), substance, sprung from ayin (nothingness). The Tzaddik comes and does the reverse: from reality, yeish, something, he makes ayin, nothing.” – Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhennsk, Noam Elimelech-Terumah

My father said at a farbrengen: “G-d created the universe and all the physical objects, yeish mei’ayin, something from nothing. Jews must transform the ‘something’ into ‘nothing’ — they must transform the material into the spiritual.” – The Rebbe, HaYom Yom 29 Adar II, 5703

This week in Parashat Terumah we see HaShem asking Am Yisrael to voluntarily give from the wealth that he had given them when they left Mitzraim in order to build the Mishkan so that he will dwell in their midst. Based on this we can see a blueprint of how we can build a “Mishkan” for HaShem in our own lives.

Each one of us, when we came into this world, were given lives that were hand crafted by HaShem. He alone has taken us to our highest point and to our most challenging lows. Along the journey he has given each one of us gifts and treasures. Some can teach, some can sing, some excel in business while others create art, raise families and so much more.

Based on the Noam Elimelech and the Rebbe’s words above all of the “Yesh” that Hashem created, came from nothing. All of the gifts, talents, skills, challenges all came to each one of us from nothing. It is our job to use those gifts to build HaShem a dwelling place amongst us.

When HaShem, “asked” that we give freely from the wealth that He had originally given to Am Yisrael. He was asking them to turn the Yesh, back into the eyin (Makom / Empty Space) of the Mikdash.

When we take the treasures that HaShem alone has given us and use them to create something in the world we are attempting to create yesh from yesh, create parnassa, honor or prestige, we end up feeling empty and unfulfilled because this is not our purpose, nor is it the purpose of the gifts we received. 

When we take the yesh, the things that HaShem has given us, and use them to create an empty space (eiyn), a space that HaShem can dwell in, we fulfill the purpose of our gifts and lives. 

Through being mindful about why, how and what we do and being diligent to use our gifts in the framework of halachah, mitzvot and chessed we elevate them to the glory and honor of HaShem. Through this, each one of us is fulfilling our purpose and we reveal, through our “Mishkan,” the Holiness of HaShem that fills the entire world.

Tefillah: HaShem, I yearn to see your glory and holiness revealed in this world. Your majesty shines through all creation. Give me the strength to use the gifts and talents that You have given me to build a Mikdash for You in my life. Give me courage to not feel that I have to “make something from something” but to be faithful to You first and to trust that You will guide, protect and provide for me. Help me to become a faithful steward of the treasures that You have given me, ready and willing to return them to their rightful owner in the right time and place. Amen ~

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