Thursday, February 8, 2018

Who's Contributing The Other Half ?

As we are on the cusp of the month of Adar, we once again read the parsha of Shekalim this Shabbos. This was the directive that G-d communicated to Moshe that Israelites contribute a half shekel for this national campaign. This campaign had a dual purpose. Firstly, the donated silver was ultimately melted and used for the construction of the mishkan/tabernacle. It  was also done for the purpose of the first national census. Instead of counting heads, we were told to contribute a half shekel coin. However many coins were counted was the amount of people that were accounted for in the census.

I have often wondered, why couldn’t everyone just contribute a shekel ? Was there any reason for the frugality here ? After all the proceeds went to the construction of the mishkan/tabernacle  and the more funds collected would just make this fundraising campaign that more successful ?

Upon reflection, the half shekel contribution does teach us a great lesson. It reflects the notion that although each and every individual is valuable and significant we are only part of something that is much greater than the sum of all of our parts. Klal Yisroel is not just a collection of individuals. Rather, we are a nation in which each tribe uniquely contributes in a way which cannot be duplicated. Everyone has a special purpose and mission. Unfortunately, we tend to hear how one individual or group disparages another and claims the other contributions are unworthy. Yet, as we know the Kohanim, Levites and Israelites all contributed into weaving the larger tapestry of Klal Yisroel. This fundamental lesson manifests itself precisely with the contribution of the half shekel. Let’s remember there are other Jews that contribute a half shekel in their own unique way.

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