Although the subject of Terumah and Tetzaveh is the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), as we know from all Jewish organizations, the building fund precedes any construction project. An underlying part of these Torah portions is the fundraising, and the methodology for Terumah and Tetzaveh is very different.
In this week’s Torah portion, תרומה, G-d starts giving Moshe instructions on building the Mishkan: “Take for Me a portion (תרומה); from every man whose heart motivates him you shall take My portion.” The word תרומה in this context is a voluntary donation–– but for a voluntary gift, “take,” clearly an active verb, is a strange word. The more common word for a donation is נדבה, which means a donation in response to urging. In contrast, a portion “from every man whose heart motivates him” is a donation whose virtue depends on the thought behind the donation. The person making the תרומה for the Mishkan must give it with his heart and soul and without any outside motivation. The collectors who take the תרומה must be Jews and must sit passively waiting for those wishing to do so to come and present their gifts.