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Truma: A Donation from the Heart

Miriam Aflalo

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Torah lists all of Bnei Yisrael’s donations to the Mishkan. At the end of the list, it writes: “And the stones of shoham and the stones for the settings of the apron and the choshen.”(Shemos 25:7) Why were the stones mentioned last, after all the gold, silver, and copper? The stones were much more expensive and, therefore, they should have been listed first.

The Or HaChaim says: The reason the stones were written last is because the Nissi’im didn’t work hard to get them. The Clouds of Glory brought precious stones and pearls to the doorways of their houses. And therefore, the Torah lists their donation after all of Bnei Yisrael’s, since Bnei Yisrael gave from their own pocket what they had worked hard to attain. (Sichos Mussar, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, speech 22, 5732)

The morning always comes too quickly, and I pull the warm blanket stubbornly over my head. My cell phone rings. Who is calling at such an early hour? I want to sink into my bed and hide. Oops! No one’s calling; it’s the alarm clock and it’s time to get up.

Soft whispers are coming from the kids’ room and bare feet are pattering to the kitchen to see what time it is.

“Get up already!” my inner voice urges. “Get up! Greet the kids with a smile and go prepare breakfast! Get up before they start screaming and the madhouse begins!”

“But I’m tired,” the childish voice inside me insists. “I don’t have strength to get up at all. Another ten minutes, then I’ll start my day.”

Ten minutes!

I’ve always been like this. Pressing snooze on the alarm, and trying to sneak another few minutes of peace. Getting up at the last minute. Pressuring the kids to hurry and run to the bus stop.

The little ones are all wide awake. The older ones are chattering in their pajamas. It’s cold in my room, and the bread is in the freezer, and I think I’m out of milk. Two minutes have passed. I have another eight minutes.

Eight minutes!

“Get up! You’ll avoid the pressure and the madness of last-minute dashes to the bus.”

“But I’m so tired,” I whine. I burrow deeper in bed, my eyes still closed.

“Okay!” I start to give myself a pep talk. “I’ll forfeit my eight minutes for the sake of a calm morning. I can do this! Ready?” I jump out of bed, and yawning away, I somehow start my day.

The morning is harried and demanding. Within minutes, I’m running from room to room, finding the lost shoe, signing the spelling test, zipping up coats. Suddenly, at eight fifteen, silence falls on the house, and my heartbeat slows to a normal pace.

My neighbor comes down to borrow celery for the soup she’s making for supper.

Soup?! Supper?! I look at the bedlam around me. Strewn pajamas. Puddles of milk and cornflakes stuck to the floor. How is she making soup?

It’s simple. My neighbor wakes up at the crack of dawn. Without a moment’s hesitation, she jumps out of bed, sets the table for breakfast, and makes pancakes. At seven thirty, every one of her kids is dressed and ready, and she’s free to start preparing supper. So at eight fifteen she comes to borrow celery.

Suddenly, those eight minutes that I fought with myself to gain, come crashing in on me. They throw me into a black pit of gloom.

The Clouds of Glory brought the precious stones only to the Nissi’im, because only they were worthy of such a miracle, due to their righteousness. Yet still, the stones’ value fell in the eyes of Hashem, since the Nissi’im didn’t work hard to attain them. Donations of the heart are valued according to the efforts that the person put in to attain these items. (ibid.)

Many times, you polish your efforts until they glow like copper. You feel the satisfaction flowing within you. But suddenly, you see a person who has diamonds and precious stones. The Clouds of Glory brought success to the doorway of her house; that’s how she was born and that’s how she was raised.

Your inner luster fades in pain. What’s copper compared to pearls?

Copper is precious. It’s the donation of your heart. It’s valued more in the Eyes of Hashem than expensive stones that were found easily. It’s the essence of your soul that’s glowing. The rays of pure light that are coming out of your great efforts.

Come in! Take as much celery as you need. The eight minutes of sleep that I sacrificed this morning are precious in the Eyes of Hashem. They are the donation of my heart. And no diamond can overshadow their beauty.

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