I spent the morning in one of the many waiting rooms at OSU Wexner Medical Center. My wife was there for her pre-admission testing. On September 15th, she will become a living organ donor–one of the many “heroes” who walk among us. I spent my time in the waiting room studying/preparing for the Yom Kippur Torah Reading. I was struck once again with the insight with which our sacred texts can inform our modern life.
“Let-rom” is to donate in Modern Hebrew. (in the sense of donating a kidney) and “Tru’mah” is a donation. However, this somewhat sterile and secular usage takes on a much more significant and spiritual overtone when viewed against the backdrop of Torah. Parashat Tru’mah (donation/gift) deals with the building of the Tabernacle. Our text states: “You shall accept gifts (Tru’mah/ot) from every person whose heart is so moved.” G-d wants our gifts–not necessarily our sacrifices!
Rashi explains that Tru’mah/gift is not something demanded by law, but rather a Tru’mah is a gift that is given voluntarily as an expression of the heart. I think the lesson of Tru’mah/Yom Kippur is to encourage us to give of ourselves in a spiritual way. This leaves me asking: “How do we give gifts that reflect our connection to the values we cherish, and how would offering up these gifts change our lives and the lives of the recipient?”
I then looked up from the text and remembered where I was–in a waiting room at the OSU Transplant Center. The gifts of our heart are many, and they do NOT necessarily need to include organ donation. However, for me at least, it all begins with a deep sense of gratitude for all that I have (including my excellent health!) and a willingness to extend myself to others.
Wishing you a meaningful Elul/month of preparation.