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Flaming Currency

Friday, 4 March, 2016 - 11:11 am

This Shabbat we take two Torahs out of the Ark for Torah reading. In addition to the regular parasha, Vayakhel, we also read the first of four special Torah readings – Parashat Shekalim. The passage talks about the half-Shekel that was brought as a contribution to the Mishkan and later Temple building/service “to atone for their souls.”

After describing the Mitzvah to Moshe, Hashem says, “This you shall give.” Our sages point out (cited by Rashi), that He showed Moshe a half-Shekel coin of fire. Moshe was puzzled so Hashem had to show him what the Mitzvah was.

The question is, what was so puzzling about the Mitzvah that further elucidation was necessary? The Torah even describes the value of the coin. To explain, Moshe could not understand how a small coin – a half-Shekel – could serve as an atonement for their souls. Coming off of the greatest sin in history – the Golden Calf – how could such a minimal commitment bring atonement?

Hashem responded by showing him a coin of fire. The underlying message was, that it is not the quantity of the commitment that brings the atonement, it is the quality of the passion and enthusiasm. When one is on fire for Hashem and His Torah, even the smallest act contains the powerful energy of atonement.  

The lesson is clear. A penny of commitment that is flaming with passion is more desirable to Hashem than a great commitment that is performed by rote. When we invest our hearts into our service of Hashem it packs a powerful punch of holiness and G-dliness that can confront and conquer all negatives.

We extend our condolences to Yaakov Teitelbaum upon the untimely passing of his son Aaron. May Hashem comfort Yaakov and his family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem so that they only experience open and revealed good from here onward.

Registration for Purim in Outer Space – Chabad’s Grand Purim Feast – is underway. This year’s venue is Torah Academy. For more info www.jewishlouisiana.com/purim.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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