This week’s Portion of Terumah is preceded by the Portion of Mishpatim that we read last week. Terumah talks about the contributions that the Jews were asked to make for the construction of the Mishkan. Mishpatim talks about the laws of justice and honesty and decency that the Jews were instructed to follow.
There is a significant inherent message in the juxtaposition of these Portions. The Torah is implying that when one contributes or offers to construct a building in honor or in memory of someone, or if one is making a contribution for a worthy cause, it must be ascertained that the money was raised honestly and legitimately.
Too often we hear of philanthropists who do great charitable deeds to perpetuate the names of dear ones or who contribute great sums of money to worthy causes for the glory and publicity they gain from these acts. They often do so to legitimize their fiscal dealings. According to all ethical and moral laws, before allowing such deeds and before accepting these contributions, it must be first determined that the money has been honestly acquired.