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 VAESCHANAN AND TU BEAV:

View Complete List

Facing the Challenge
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5763

Do Not Enter
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

> I Have Just Begun to See
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Torah Study - Review vs. New
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Consolation
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

You Can't Plead Everyone
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Making Connections
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Command of Love
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Getting Our (National) Act Together
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

What Is True Love?
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

They Go Together
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

ArtScroll

Cause Hashem to Be Loved By Others
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Starting With the Best Materials
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Birth of a Land
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Harpstrings of the Heart
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773



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