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    Gold, silver & brass – T’rumah

    The sidra sets out the offerings required for the building of the tabernacle. They include gold, silver and copper.

    But the Israelites were in the midst of the wilderness! How did they get these metals?

    One answer is that families may have owned metals for generations, from the earlier, more pleasant period in Egypt. In addition, the Torah states that on leaving Egypt they were endowed with assets by the Egyptians. They could also have acquired spoils of war from the Amalekites.

    When the time came, therefore, to create the sanctuary, they had not only the will but also the means to adorn the edifice with appropriate dignity.

    Their generosity established the precedent which has been part of Jewish life ever since – the instinctive support for a worthy cause. The full flowering of this impulse for generosity has come in our generation, which the historian Cecil Roth called the Philanthropic Age of Jewish history.

    Reconstructing the Jewish world after the Holocaust, creating the State of Israel, establishing the infrastructure for the Jewish future, all called forth all the reserves of gold, silver and bronze which we were able to give, and we gave and continue to give with a willing heart because we knew from Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness that to give is a mitzvah.

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