Who is giving?
A wealthy Chassid who fed the poor of his town once came to Rabbi Shneur Zalman and complained about the deep satisfaction he received from his good deeds: “I feel terrible that the good I do is driven by selfish intent. Should I put an end to my hypocrisy?” he asked.
The Rabbi responded: “You might be insincere in your giving; I can assure you that the poor people you feed are very sincere in their eating”.
In this week’s Torah portion we read: "And G-d spoke to Moses, saying: speak to the Children of Israel, that they should take a gift for Me, from every person whose heart moves him you should take My gift...”
The 17th century sage, Ohr Hachayim, says: When we know a person is a "Nediv Lev," that he or she has a generous heart which moves him to give, we cannot start negotiating with him or try and determine the amount he will give.
On the contrary, when we know a person is generous, we know that he will do what he can. G-d Himself testifies that this is "My gift" - this is what this individual can do. Ohr HaChaim continues, the verse is also telling us that a donation can only be called a "Trumasi," –my - G-d's - gift, if it comes from the heart to give.
Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik adds that no one profits from the giving more than the giver themselves, which is why the verse uses "take" rather than "give" - the donor is the one who benefits. All the money and the worldly possessions which we gather for ourselves, is not really ours, as we spend it. While the money that we give to charity, to support others lasts forever.