This week’s parashat Teruma tells of God's command to make the Mishkan - the Tabernacle - and its furnishings. At the start of the parasha, G-d commands Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael to make a contribution - teruma - for the purpose of building the mishkan.
Who should give, what is to be donated, and how much should be contributed? This question is not part of the Biblical text, but the answer is given as part of the command: “m’et kol ish asher yidevenu libo - מֵאֵ֤ת כָּל־אִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִדְּבֶ֣נּוּ לִבּ֔וֹ.”
This phrase is not so easy to translate and indeed there are various English translations:
“Of every man that gives it willingly with his heart.”
“Of every man whose heart maketh him willing.”
“Of every man that offereth of his own accord.”
“Of everyone whose heart prompteth him.”
“From everyone whose heart prompts them to give.”
“From all whose hearts are moved to offer them.”
“From every man whose heart moves him.”
“From everyone who is willing to give.”
“From every person whose heart moves him to give.”
“From every person motivated by a willing heart.”
“From everyone whose heart makes him willing.”
“From every man whose heart impelleth him.”
“From every person whose heart so moves him.”
“From every person whose heart inspires him to generosity.”
“Whatever contribution each person freely gives.”
Nevertheless, despite the seeming unclarity, the verse is easily understood. It simply means that contribution for the most sacred or for what is important for us should be given willingly from those who desire to give, what they are willing to give, and as much as they want or can give, and maybe also we can add when they desire to give - מי שרוצה, מה שהוא רוצה, כמה שהוא רוצה, ומתי שהוא רוצה, in tekhles Hebrew.
Of course there are areas of necessities and quantities and timing is important too. But the underlying message is clear: giving willingly as one desires.
And that’s what we do for our own Mishkan - our Community. We contribute and give. Willingly, each one in his/her own way, each one based on his/her own ability, and each one in accordance to his/her own desire, following their heart and their mind.
Shabbat shel Shalom. tbs