BS"D || Rabbi Geier
What are you willing to give for your community?
I am not referring to your monthly fee. We already take that for granted, right? The question is what ELSE are you willing to give for your community to survive?
It is a difficult question to ask and even more difficult to answer. And the worst, or best, of all, is that we are not really talking about money or anything complicated.
Litrom is the verb that summons us this week. Litrom is not really donate. Litrom is giving what is necessary to sustain. And that livelihood often involves money, it's true, but more often than not, it involves other things: It involves (forgive the redundancy) getting involved. The torem or toremet are the ones who give their contribution so that the community is sustained. The tormim (the plural for TOREM) give their time, support with their ideas.
The torem helps to change what he believes must be changed. He helps to think of new paths so that community continuity is not unknown; to the integration of new people or who are not usually present frequently. The torem participates because it is also necessary to make an appearance so that the congregation exists and remains in time with its living message.
They are the ones who contribute with exactly what they have and can offer, but they give something as a contribution. The Tormim bring money, of course, since it is necessary, but they also bring time, mind, presence, commitment, legacy, good vibes, a hug, a smile. Everything helps and supports.
When our parashah this week talks about the truma, it talks about the famous half-shekel. Just half of a unit that, regardless of whether it was a lot or a little money, what it did was force everyone to be a part. That minimum contribution was necessary to complete a shekel. It was necessary for each one to do their bit to complete the unit. It was necessary, regardless of social class or monthly income, that each one commit to a collective HINENI (Here I am) for the community to exist (the mishkan, the tabernacle, in the case of our ancestors in the desert). If it was not so, the mishkan could not take place, it could not exist.
And even more. The Creator was clear in saying “and they will make me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them” (Shmot 25:8)
The Holiness of God would be among the people, once the Mishkan was built. But if this required the genuine, personal and committed contribution of each one of the components of Bnei Israel, (that minimum half a shekel), then we can infer that there was not going to be holiness in the town as long as there was not a full commitment of its members.
What didn't we learn? After so much time and so much reading year after year of Parashat Truman...we did not understand that the Community is transformed and enriched and survives and transmits and vibrates with Holiness, only with an individual commitment that results in the collective?
We have the challenge of ensuring that each of the meetings we have is to integrate and reintegrate people who have left, or who we simply want to join and build ties to strengthen ourselves. For Beth El to be what we want to be,
Later, we will read that only when the mishkan was ready did the divine presence descend and fill it with content.
May we achieve THAT goal. Unite at work and fill ourselves with content.