“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that gives it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which you shall take of them; gold and silver and brass... “ ( Shemos 25, 2-3).
The Torah here continues to list the materials needed for the construction of the Mishkan. Specifically, the metals: gold, silver, copper for the various utensils.
Clearly, there is a difference between those who brought the most expensive - gold, the less expensive - silver, and the very cheap - copper.
These metals hint at the differences among the people who donated these supplies.
“Zahav” - Gold is an abbreviation of "Ze aneysen Bori [this makes one healthy] - people who do not have flaws, who are healthy whole who donated just for the sake of the donations which is the highest form of charity.
"Kesef” – Silver is an abbreviation of" Ksheeysh sakonas Pahad [when there is a danger of fear], "- a donation made by a person trying to escape from an impending danger, this is a lower level of charity.
"Nekheyshes" - Copper – abbreviation of: Nesinas hachhoyle, sheeymer: 'T'nu!' [a sick person’s contribution who says: 'Give!'] when suffering from pain, a person commands ”Give” as a way to escape or avoid suffering. This is the lowest form of charity.
There is an additional, more in-depth explanation of the differences between gold, silver and copper.
- Gold is hints at the First Temple. The First Temple was the most perfect in all respects as there was nothing lacking in it.
- Silver hints at the Second Temple which lacked five essential components, the Ark of the Covenant is one. This lack raised fears that just as some items had disappeared , so too, might the Temple itself, which is what eventually did happen.
- Copper hints at today's situation - being in exile. Following the destruction of the Second Temple the Jewish people have been in a state of a patient who shouts from pain "Give!" That is, all of Israel is shouting to their Father in Heaven “Give us the Temple!”, i.e. the Third Beis HaMikdash which will exist in perpetuity.