“Like all that I show you, the form of the Tabernacle and the form of all its utensils — and so you shall make” (Shemot 25:9)
The Tabernacle and the Temple that replaced it in Jerusalem are replicas of a Heavenly Temple. This is similar to an artist who was commissioned to duplicate the capital city on a small piece of paper. The marketplace was represented by a scratch and the palace by a dot so that the paper could encompass the entire city.
Imagine an expert artist who had many students and one of his best asked for his mentor’s approbation. The student drew his work on a small piece of paper and submitted it to his teacher to review. When the expert looked at the rendition of the capital city, he slapped his student in the face.
“Why did you slap me?” inquired the shocked disciple.
“You left out a small dot,” answered the artist.
“Because of one small dot you hit me? It is only a tiny detail in a beautiful work of art,” said the shaken student.
“Don’t show your ignorance,” said the teacher. “It is true that on this tiny paper it is only a tiny spot; however, in the capital city, it is the royal palace. By neglecting that dot on your paper you have removed the royal palace from the capital.”
The Mishkan — Tabernacle — is a representation of a Heavenly abode. Therefore, all of its details must be perfect, down to the smallest measurements, because an inch on earth could be a mile On High. Moshe and Betzalel supervised the collection of funds and materials to insure precision and purity. They both realized the effect a slight variation down on Earth would have when magnified in Heaven.
Actions people do are magnified on their way to Heaven, where they are recorded in a person’s life file. One must be meticulous in mitzvah performance to ensure the purity of intent and deed so that one’s deeds stand up to the Heavenly magnifier on Judgment Day.
One might ask, why does the Torah portion Terumah, which deals with the construction of the Tabernacle, with the wealth donated by the people, follow Mishpatim, the portion dealing with laws having to do with property and financial transactions?
The Torah teaches that money that is acquired honestly and strictly according to Jewish law is acceptable as an offering to G-d. On the other hand, donations made to holy causes with monies acquired dishonestly is disgusting to Hashem and not appropriate for matters of holiness.
One must be diligent in studying Torah laws regarding property to ensure that all that one possesses is rightly in one’s pocket so that its use will be pleasing to Hashem. The only way one can be sure that one has met the Torah’s standards of total honesty is to first learn the parashah of Mishpatim — Laws — and then one may donate one’s terumah.