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 DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

The Foundation of Piety
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Unite!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

A Judgement Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Real $24,000 Question
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

> A Lesson About Our Psyche
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Wise Rebuke
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

The Way to a Person's Soul is Through His Dignity
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

ArtScroll

If only . . .
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Honesty
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

How We Suffer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

It's Not What You Want - But How You Ask
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Faithful Contentment
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Taking Stock
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757



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