Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
There are commentators who explain that only in this week's Torah portion do we experience the real Exodus. Yes, we have already left Egypt, but in parashat Terumah the children of Israel are asked to make a personal contribution, to give of themselves to build a Mishkan. And it is only when we go outside of ourselves and demonstrate generosity that we truly leave slavery for freedom.
According to the famous book "Orchot Tzadikim" (Ways of the Righteous), of unknown authorship, there are three types of giving:
• Giving of our wealth: utilizing financial resources not only for personal needs and self-gratification, but for charity as well.
• Giving of our physical presence: being physically involved or lending a hand; participating in another's simcha, visiting a mourner, helping someone move belongings to a new residence, or even inviting someone out for a cup of coffee in order to provide encouragement and reassurance. And sometimes it's enough to just smile at someone and listen. Physical giving cannot be taken for granted, especially in the age of masks. It's much easier to give by clicking on an app for charitable contributions, rather than by getting physically involved up close in meeting another's need.
• Giving of our wisdom: counseling others, sharing our experience, teaching Torah so others can better get to know their heritage and themselves. This is the highest form of giving.
Parashat Terumah reminds us that we do not have to be rich in order to make a contribution, and we do not have to wait for a special opportunity to demonstrate our generosity. In each and every moment, we are surrounded by opportunities to give.