Notice the words the author used in the passage from Exodus 25. The scripture used “to take” instead of “to bring” in “Tell the Israelites to take for me an offering.” Hold that thought for a second, and look at it from another angle. If we linguistically study this word, the verb meaning of “Târumah” is “to elevate.” Does this root-meaning add anything more to our understanding of what’s going on here? Have you ever seen something elevate? If you’ve rode an elevator before, it goes from the first floor to the second floor. It leaves the first floor, and arrives at the second floor. An elevator that works cannot be both on the first floor and the second floor at the same time.
Going back, why did the verse say, “to take for me”? The Bible talks about taking an offering, but why did it not directly say to bring your donations to God? A linguistic investigation shows us insights into human ways of thinking. There is a “Take and give” concept here.3 In order to give something, it must be taken from ourselves. Said in another way, true gift giving is about giving something up.
The Târumah is a heart offering (see Exo 25:2) that can be elevated. The elevation here refers to the spiritual expansion because of the elevated nature of the gift. Throughout the Pentateuch, Moses is described as “going up” to commune with God. This suggests that through the gifts that the people of God give to the ministers, all Israelites are able to ascend toward the Divine. They need to let go of something to get to somewhere. As in the elevator illustration, they need to let go of being on the first floor in order to reach higher floors. In the context of the heave offering, it is letting go of a tangible object, in order to experience an intangible God.
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