Weekly Pre-Shabbos D’var Torah from Rabbi Gutstein

D’Var Torah:

Donor walls are commonly seen in schools, shuls, museums, hospitals and other institutions. The one building that did not have a donor wall was the Bais Hamikdash. However, that was the 2nd Bais Hamikdash which last stood more than 1900 years ago. As a part of the modern world, one wonders whether or not the 3rd Bais Hamikdash will have a donor wall.

Contrary to the idea of donating so people will know who gave the donation, the Torah teaches us in this week’s Parsha, “and make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” Rashi comments, “and make for Me” – “for My sake”. The Jewish people were obligated to donate gold, silver, bronze, wool, linen and money for the construction and upkeep of the Tabernacle and later the Bais Hamikdash. But, it wasn’t donated for the glory of the donor. G-d said that it was donated “for Me” – “for My sake”. The donations were given to glorify the name of G-d.

The wording seems to be a bit superfluous. In the very beginning of the Parsha, G-d commands Moshe to speak to the Jewish people “and take for Me a donation. . . take My donation.” We know that the donation is going to build a sanctuary for G-d. Why does the Torah repeat the instruction, “And make for Me a sanctuary”. For whom else was it going to be made.

Human beings need reminders to pay attention to what we should be doing and why we are doing it. Of course it is important to donate to build a house for G-d. But, after a while, people can become complacent and forget the original intent – that it is being built to glorify G-d. They might begin to think that it is being built to glorify themselves. Then you would have a new structure that has nothing to do with the old structure. Therefore, the Torah repeats “for Me.” You are building this sanctuary for the sake of G-d – not for the sake of yourself.

Whatever is donated serves a crucial function. Whether you are donating for the alter, the ark or the curtains, remember why you are donating. You are donating for G-d. Because if it is not curtains for G-d, it might be curtains for the donor.