Rabbi Coffman here
Here is something on this week's parsha I thought you would enjoy!
Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudei: “The power of giving”
“And to contrive works of art, to work in gold and in silver and in brass” (Exodus 35:33)
We know that many people brought gifts for the sake of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) but some gave with a full heart, others gave to have a good name while still others gave because they felt they had no choice and were embarrassed if they did not give. Betzalel was able to see through every gift given what their intention was and he therefore determined which thing in the Mishkan it would be given for.
Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlit'a in Chochmah V'Da'as explains this through the following story. There was a Rosh Yeshiva (Dean of the Yeshiva) who built a magnificent fancy building to house this holy place. People asked him why did he change the standard of all the old yeshivos by building a fancy modern building instead of one more plain and ordinary? The Rosh Yeshiva explained that in previous generations all the people had proper fear of heaven and everyone donated to the yeshivas with proper intention. Therefore all the money that was given for the building was truly holy. Today, however there are many people that give donations not with the purest intentions. Not only that, they take donations even from evil people!
This money builds the external part of the yeshiva while the pure and holy money builds the spiritual aspect of it and when the money is given, there is heavenly help as to exactly where it needs to go. This is incredible because after all, if someone gives charity, why would we say that it can have a negative effect on to where it is being given to?
The reality is that if a person made money through stealing or misrepresentation or working on shabbos, it is tainted and has an adverse affect on person or institution that is receiving it. This is one of the reasons that many institutions will not take money from people that do not keep shabbos as they don't want the negative spiritual effect it will have on the students. At the same time, some will take the money and just not use it for the spiritual endeavors of that place!
Rav Moshe Shneider z“l, Rav Sternbuch's rebbe in London refused at all costs to take money from people that didn't keep shabbos. Even if it meant that the yeshiva went through difficult periods of time, he wanted to make sure that the spiritual entity of the yeshiva stayed in tact and did not effect the student body! Can we even fathom that our donations or thoughts of how we do things can effect others?
Everything we do has causes and effects. We may not see these far reaching effects for some time, but it doesn't mean that there are none. The ways of heaven are hidden to us but at the end of the day we have to realize what we do and the repercussions they have upon us and others. When our eyes are open to G-d's wisdom, it makes it is easier to see the true reality and what we must do to reach our true potential!
Until next time…