Pearls of Rashi – Ki Siso

This week we read Parshas Ki Siso, which tells us of the Mitzvah of giving a half – Shekel. The Torah says that[1]this they shall give … a half shekel according to the holy Shekel.” The Parshah teaches us that this half-Shekel provides a Jew with[2] “an atonement for his soul.” Rashi cites the words “this they shall give,” and explains as follows. “He (Hashem) showed him (Moshe) a sort of coin of fire weighing half a shekel, and He said to him, ‘Like this one they shall give.’”

Why does Rashi find it necessary to explain that Hashem showed something to Moshe? The reason is because the Torah uses the word this; “this they shall give.” The word this always refers to that which one can point at.

However, this still is difficult to understand. Rashi primarily explains the simple meaning of the Torah. Why does he need to write that G-d showed Moshe a coin of fire? Why could He not have shown him a simple silver coin. This does not at all seem to fit with the simple meaning of the verse.

The explanation is, that Moshe was shocked when Hashem told him that by giving a half shekel one can attain “atonement for his soul.”

This can be explained with an analogy. A young man desired to become a goldsmith. He went to an experienced smith in order to learn the trade he wished to pursue. The teacher was very clear, and in a short time his student learned the trade. There was just one thing which the teacher did not mention. He left this out, because he assumed that the student would understand this on his own. In order for his work to have any affect, he must first light a fire under the silver or gold. When the student returned home to practice his trade, he did exactly as he was taught. The one thing which he did not do, was to light a fire under the raw material. It is understood that his work was in vain; it did not change the metal at all.

This is why Hashem showed Moshe a coin of fire. Merely giving a coin does not provide one with “atonement for his soul.” It is only when he “light a fire” under it that it has any affect. He must give it with the excitement which comes from the essence of his soul. Then, and only then, can it atone for him.

We must all learn from this, that every Mitzvah we fulfill, and all of the Torah which we learn, must come from the depths of our hearts. Then, we will bring Moshiach now!

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 3, Page 529

Mr. Sholom Moshe ben Reb Shlomo Meir
Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach,
13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 30:13.

[2]. Our Parshah, Shemos 30:12.

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