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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Shemot: Parashat Teroumah: Being a Jew at Work

Contributed by: R. Ezra E. Miztahi

The question is asked:

What is the connection between parashat Mishpatim and parashat Teroumah?

Last week we read parashat Mishpatim. The parasha dealt with various monetary laws regarding our day to day interactions with our fellow Jews. Parshat Teroumah begins with a description of the Termouah, or communal donation was given to the Kohanim towards purchase of qorbanot and any other needs of the Mishkan.

What is the connection?

The Bet Halevi provides an answer. The Torah stresses that even as one is coming to give a contribution towards the Mishkan, one needs to first be sure that the funds being given are clean from any disputes between fellow Jews. Was the money acquired legitimately? Is the money being donated while the donor is withholding money from a fellow Jew whom he wronged?

This is the connection between the parshiyot. When one comes to give a donation to a synagogue, one must be fully learned in the laws of niziqin or damages, to ensure that his Teroumah is a pure Teroumah. Being a Jew means that one is a Jew at home and at work, when in front of your kids or in front of your employees.

When we continue reading the parasha, we read of the holy ark, a key artifact of the Mishkan, that houses the Louhot Haberit and various other items. The ark represents the Torah and our pursuit of Torah. There were two long poles that were placed through the two sides of ark. When the ark was in transit, these poles were (seemingly) used. However, even when the ark was at rest, these poles were never removed. The reason is simple. The Torah must always be "on the move" or with you in all that you do. Removing the poles would symbolize the ability to leave the Torah and its laws behind, in the shul, or in the midrash. Instead, the poles remain inserted always, symbolizing how we must always first think of our Torah before we do anything in life.
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