Pekuai / Shekalim

This Shabbos we read Parshas Pekudai. It is also Parshas Shekalim, the first of the special 4 weeks of Torah reading that spans from before the holiday of Purim until a couple of weeks before the Holiday of Passover. In this Parsha we read of the Shekalim, the half Shekel coin, that was donated by every Jew this time of year. This was given to pay for the daily sacrifices offered in the Temple. By having every Jew participate in this donation, we sent a clear message to the Jewish people. You make a difference!!!!! Your shekel is needed to buy the sacrifices for the Temple. The sacrifice may have coins from 90% of the Jewish people, but if my coin wasn’t there, the sacrifice was not complete.

Why was it so necessary to have money contributed for the daily sacrifices? Couldn’t we just have a voluntary system for those who wanted to give the donations?

The essence of the Temple was the connection between Hashem and the Jewish people. That connection came in a bond of love between Hashem and the Jews. Whenever we seek to instill love, what brings it out the most is through giving to the other side. This is why the love of parents to children is so deep and great. The reality that they have given everything to their children that they have, instills in them a tremendous bond to them. On the other hand, while children may have gotten so much from their parents, but it was in a taking mode. Hence, their feeling of love is not as strong as that of their parents to them.

If so, we become aware that giving creates a relationship of love. The more we give to something, the more we feel connected to it. Hashem told the Jewish people to make sure that they give a yearly donation to the Temple, to insure that the feelings of love that make up the essence of the Temple are kept alive. The opportunities we have to give charity must always result in a bond between us and Hashem, and be appreciated as such.

This is the yearly opportunity of Shabbos Shekalim; as we hear the special Torah reading and the special Haftorah we must think of firming up that bond between us and Hashem when the opportunities come our way to donate to His cause. Rather than feeling resentment at being asked to participate in these various donations, we can hopefully feel proud and satisfied with having a new venue to reconnect properly to Him.