Shabbat Parashat Terumah| 5764
Terumah | | 08/01/2003
In the first p’sukim of the parasha, describing the donations for the construction of the mishkan, the Torah uses the word, terumah (contribution) three times. The Yerushalmi (Shekalim 1:1) spells out how each mention corresponds to a different need that was fulfilled by the donations. “And they shall take for Me a contribution” (Shemot 25:2) corresponds to the collection for the adanim (the silver base which held the side beams of the mishkan).
One of the harder to define damages that one can protest is hezek r’eeya (damage caused by what one sees). There are different elements to this type of damage. In certain cases, there can be outright breaches of modesty. (See Rashi on Bamidbar 24:5, that Bnei Yisrael are praised for ensuring that one could not see into his neighbor’s home). Another element is that there are times that one farmer, with too good a view of his neighbor’s successful crops, can cause damage through ayin hara (Bava Batra 2b).
Eretz Yisrael also has a spiritual, healing element. R. Yehuda Halevi says that we should look at the cessation of prophecy during the Second Temple period as a punishment for the insufficient response of the Babylonian exiles to return to Eretz Yisrael at that time. In kind, the future, final redemption must be preceded by the nation reawakening to return to its land. Only then will the nation be able to return to its spiritual health, using the Land’s curing powers.
Question: I am an architect, who routinely hires consultants (structural engineers, etc.) in order to draw up safe, complete plans. I did a rather small plan on a structure that required, as stated in the client’s contract, consultation with engineers. It turned out that the engineers’ work, which turned out to be crucial, cost close to my own charge for the plans. The client has refused to pay for their work, saying that he doesn’t accept that a simple job should require such elaborate consultation and that he suspects we are “sticking him” unjustifiably. Usually, an architect does not pay his consultants until the money comes in, a practice about which I have some qualms. Should I pay the engineers out of my own pocket? They (devout, ethical non-Jews) have kindly told me that they want me to get paid before they do, but I want to do the right thing. On the other hand, at this stage in my career, the loss I would incur by paying would be a sizable chunk of my earnings, money I can use for family needs.
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).