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Summary of The Maftir:

Maftir Shekalim

This week, in addition to the regular Parsha, we read Parshas Shekalim. Parshas Shekalim is the first of the four special Shabbosim preceding Pesach when additional portions from the Torah are read. Shekalim is read on the Shabbos that precedes the month of Adar, or the Shabbos of Rosh Chodesh Adar (when Rosh Chodesh and Shabbos coincide).

A key function of the Bais Hamikdash (Temple) was the offering of the daily, korban - public sacrifices. The designation of "public" was because every male adult, 20 years and older, donated a 1/2 Shekel toward the purchase of the communal sacrifices. These moneys were gathered and used to purchase the daily public offerings.

The law demands that all sacrifices must be purchased from moneys collected for that year. The fiscal year for public offerings was from Nissan to Nissan. Therefore, the Rabbi's ordained that the portion of the Torah describing the first giving of the 1/2 Shekel be read on the Shabbos of or before Rosh Chodesh Adar, one month before the 1/2 shekel was due, as a reminder that everyone should send in their money to the Temple.

Summary of The Haftorah:

Haftorah Shekalim
Melachim II Chapter 12

In honor of Shabbos Shekalim, the Haftorah is designated to reflect the theme of Shekalim rather than the weekly portion of Mishpatim. Chapter 12 of II Kings relates how the young Yeho'ash collected the funds for the rededication of the Bais Hamikdash.

In the year 3084 - 677b.c.e., Yeho'ash, the King of Yehudah, decided to strengthen and redecorate the 155 year old Bais Hamikdash. Yeho'ash instituted a simple system of collection, known today as the "Pushka." A special box was designated next to the Mizbeach where all collected moneys were deposited. The money was then counted and given to the contractors who dispersed the funds, as needed, to the workmen. The Navi specifically states that no accounting was made with the contractors, because they were men of integrity.

Yeho'ash was the sole survivor from the House of Dovid Hamelech following their massacre by the hands of Queen Athalya, the daughter of Achav and Ezevel, and Yeho'ash's own grandmother! (just think what the media would have done with a story like this) He was saved by his aunt, Yehosheva, the wife of Yehoyada the Kohein Gadol, who hid him in the Bais Hamikdash for six years.

After those six years, At the age of seven, Yehoyada revealed Yeho'ash's existence, and coronated him the King of Yehudah to the delight of the people. Yehoyada was the disciple of Elisha the Navi.

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