This week’s Parsha is Parshas Vayakeil and Parshas Pekudai. In the Parsha we read of the actual final construction of the Tabernacle. The Torah tells us “Take from you an offering to Hashem, all those with a giving heart should bring it, the offering of Hashem, … (Exodus 35:5) The term ‘from you’ comes to tell us that we must make sure that whatever we are donating to charity must really belong to us. If we acquire money wrongfully, then we have no right to donate any of that money to charity. Only when we have earned money in legitimate ways, and the money is coming from you, it is ours, do we have a right to donate it to charity.
The Malbim explains that there are two different people that the Torah is talking to in the same verse. A person of means, is able to donate easily to charity. He is referred to in the first part of this verse - Take from you an offering to Hashem” – give real money to charity. A poorer person, may not be able to actually give as much as others. However, he can still be “one of those of you with a giving heart”. If he really yearns in his heart to give, but really just can’t, then the Torah says this person is considered as if he “gave it, the offering of Hashem”. The fact that he truly desires to give, and does give what he can, makes it considered as if he had given like a rich person.
In truth, the Malbim adds, in one way the second person is better than the first. The person who gave, but had no desire to do more, only has credit for what they actually did. There is certainly a limit to what a person can give and do. On the other hand, a person who desires to give more, has no limitations. As much as he feels he would like to give, he gets credit for giving. This, the Malbim explains, is the power of truly desiring in our heart to give even more than we actually can.