Major Ohr Sahar, company commander in the IDF, sent me the following idea, which he wrote to his soldiers about this week’s Portion, Teruma:
“The Portion begins with generosity: ‘Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering; of every man whose heart maketh him willing, ye shall take My offering’. The whole Nation volunteers to participate and take part in the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), to give some of their possessions in favor of its construction. But in the book titled ‘Orchot Tzadikim’ (a book from 15th century Germany about Jewish ethics) it is written that there are three types of generosity:
The first: generosity with one’s money.
The second: generosity with one’s body.
The third: generosity with one’s wisdom.
That is, contrary to what we are used to thinking, Teruma (donation, contribution) is not just with money. Generosity of the body can be expressed with visiting the sick, listening to those who need attention, consoling mourners and also truly sharing in another’s joy. In this day and age in which people constantly talk about the ‘generation of screens’, generosity of the body is important, even just looking deeply into another’s eyes. Our wisdom can be shared generously too. We can study with others and give them advice. The main point here is that you do not have to be rich, having a lot of money, in order to donate and contribute of yourself. If we properly look around us, we will find countless opportunities to be generous.”