Midreshet Amit


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Gifts and Intentions

By: Rabbi Max Daniels

Our Parsha starts out by G-d commanding Moshe to take trumah from the Jewish people in order to build the new mishkan. However, there is an extraneous word in this commandment. The pasuk reads Vayikchu li trumah - take for me trumah. The question is blatant- why couldn't G-d have said just Go take trumah? What's this for me? Rashi offers a helping hand and clarifies that for me really means li'shmi - for my name. Thanks Rashi. Now we have the pasuk reading, take for my name trumah. Not much better. Seeing as how, in contrast to other rabbis from the past, Rashi seeks to clarify and dispel confusion, this comments of his is rather perplexing.
Enter the Chiddushei HaRim, HaRav Yitzchak Meir Alter, who was the first rebbe of the Ger Chassidic dynasty. He picked up on this panic inducing Rashi and decided to help us out. He explains that the pasuk says take for me. Rashi says for me means for my name. This pasuk and its corresponding Rashi is talking about kavanah or intention. You see, we all know we need to have kavanah when we pray. We need to have kavanah when we make blessings and when we do mitzvahs. However, what exactly does that mean? What is kavanah? The Chiddushei HaRim explains that there are varying levels of kavanah, but the purest one, the simplest one, is just doing something for G-d. That's it. You see, the people giving trumah didn't have to be caught up in the obsession of well, what is my money going to go towards? I want it to go towards the aron! No! I want it to go towards the kruvim! Wait! No! I want it to pay for the incense! And with it HaShem's name should be unified and the mazalos should be given all the sheaf to overflow unto us humans and moshiach should come and the gematria of the value of money I'm giving is equal to the gematria of HaShem Echad and then if you multiply it by 2 and add 5 it represents the 7 days of creation and so with my money I'm mamish completing the act of creation and... and... and... The Chiddushei HaRim says that sometimes the best intention is the simplest one. Namely, I'm doing this for G-d and that's it.
In that I am married I know a thing or two about gifts. However, as a member of the male species there are certain gifts that I'm not hopeful I'll ever understand. Let's take flowers for example (classic). These are things that are just going to die and be thrown in the garbage. Yet, my wife insists that flowers are very important to her and very appreciated. It is not my job to figure out the significance of flowers in my wife's eyes. It won't happen. I'm a lost cause. What I can do, however, is go to the store, pick out some flowers that I think my wife would think are pretty, pay for them, go home, hold out my hand and say "these are for you." So too with G-d. Before we do a mitzvah, say a bracha or start to pray, we can say "G-d, I don't understand why you want this, but I'm in a relationship with you and I'd like to connect with you." Or even simpler, "G-d, this is for you" and that's enough to build HaShem's home.