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Teruma: Give and Take of Recovery

obormottel Thursday, 19 February 2015

“Speak to the Children of Israel and let them take for Me…” This verse refers to the donations to build the Sanctuary. But then, shouldn’t it have said “give for Me?”

Giving is an important mitzvah, but one must also know how to take.

A woman who completed her first year in recovery confided to a friend that during the frigid weather, her furnace broke down, and she slept in an unheated apartment for three days. The friend said, “You could have stayed at my house,” but the woman said, “I don’t like to impose on anyone.”

I called the woman and told her that I was disappointed because I had hoped to call on her to help newcomers in recovery. She said, “Please, Doctor, you can call on me any time.” I said, “Sorry, I can’t. If you are unable to accept help, you have no right to give it.”

It is edifying to give, but one must be able to take when necessary.