Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Ki Sisa

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"Each person who passes to be numbered, from age twenty, shall give a half-shekel, from a shekel of the Temple,... a donation to HaShem." [30:13]

The Medrash says, "Rabbi Meir said, the Holy One, Blessed be He, brought out from beneath his throne of Glory a coin of fire, and showed it to Moshe, and said to him, like this shall they give."

The Noam Elimelech explains why HaShem showed Moshe a coin of fire. When handling money, he explains, one should remember that a coin is very much like fire. Just as fire can burn and destroy, but can also warm, and cook, and serve in other valuable ways, so too a coin. If one gives a coin for a good purpose, for charity or kindness, then it is very valuable and helpful to a person; but if a person uses his money improperly, then the same coin can burn and cause serious harm.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt"l, the leading Jewish legal authority of our generation, passed away on the thirteenth of Adar II, 1986 - meaning his tenth Yahrtzeit has just passed. He also comments on this Medrash.

He asks the following question: why did G-d have to show Moshe a coin at all? Why was it so difficult for Moshe to understand the size of a half-shekel? The verse says that a shekel was 20 geirah, a known amount, so it should have been easy to determine a half-shekel.

Rabbi Feinstein explains that Moshe could not understand how people living in a materialistic world could involve themselves with spiritual pursuits. HaShem showed him a half-shekel to show him that a person should divide his time: only half of a person's efforts can be devoted to material gain; the spiritual side must be cared for as well. The division also shows a middle ground -- a person living in this world also cannot be so overwhelmed with spirituality that he ignores his material needs. It is crucial to find a balance.


Text Copyright © 1996 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

The Power of Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

Insight Into An Age Old Dilemma
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

The Spiritual Effect of Tasting the Manna
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Parnasah: Wherein the Toil?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

The Strength of Diversity
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

A Matter of Will
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

> Tribes & Elders Given The Royal Treatment At Elim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Healing the Fracture
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

The Gateway to Freedom
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

ArtScroll

Well-Bread Jews
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

A Good Night's Sleep
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Name That Tune
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Look Not at the Vessel...
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Separating the Men From the Boys
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

A Request
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5768

Sweet' Can Emerge From 'Bitter
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information