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THE MAGNIFICENT RACE
"Vayetzv Kol Adas B'nai Yisrael M'lifnei Moshe" "And all the congregation of the children of Israel went out from before Moshe (Moses)"
Moshe assembled all of the Jews to tell them of Hashem's command to gather materials to build a Mikdash (Sanctuary). As soon as he finished speaking, all of the Jews left his presence. No mention is made in the Torah of a dismissal, so it would seem that the people left without waiting for Moshe's permission to leave. Why did the people leave their eminent leader's presence without being dismissed? Wouldn't respect for Moshe warrant their waiting for dismissal?
The Jews, in their great zeal to fulfill Hashem's will to build the Mikdash, felt the necessity to run to do this Mitzvah (commandment) before Moshe actually adjourned the gathering. They recognized Moshe's greatness of spirit and realized that Moshe may want to donate all the necessary materials for the Mikdash on his own. Everyone else would thus be deprived of the opportunity to participate in this worthy project. In order to prevent this from happening, the Jews wildly exited before Moshe actually dismissed them - and before Moshe had a chance to bring a donation of his own that would cover everything needed for the Mikdash. Thus, they were ensured a share in that holy undertaking.
This interpretation is implied by the Torah's choice of words. One of the alternative interpretations of "Milifnei" (literally from before) is "preceding". Hence the verse would read as "And all the Children of Israel went out "preceding" Moshe". The verse thus indicates the great zeal of the Children of Israel who rushed to precede Moshe to get materials for the Mikdash.
SELF STARTING GENEROSITY
"Kehu Me'it'chem T'rumah LaHashem" "Take from with you a consecration for Hashem"
Sometimes when people behave in a generous manner the impetus for their actions comes from external factors rather than their own innate benevolence. For example, people may give to worthy causes because they feel the social pressure to do so, rather than because of their own generosity. When soliciting donations for the Mikdash (sanctuary) the Torah uses the phrase "Take from with you". "From with you" can be understood to mean that the donations should come from you - your own feelings and desires, not external pressure. This indicates that Hashem wanted the contribution to stem from the donors' own commitment to Hashem. This heartfelt commitment is the most pure form of generosity sought for, and it was expressed in these donations.
Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)
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