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 NASO:

View Complete List

Respectful Repeats
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Buy Low, Sell High
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Parshas Naso and Chag Shavuos
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

ArtScroll

The Source of All Blessing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

A Lesson in Community Service
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Lessons Learned From Gifts of the Nesiim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

> A Little Peace in Our Time
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Why Are Children Called "Redeemers"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

Complexity
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Pursue Positive or Sidestep Sin
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Learned From Their Mistakes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Who's On First?
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Life, the Bigger Picture -- Say Cheese!
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Sotah In Us All
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Play It Again, Schloomiel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Pennies From Heaven
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758



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