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    Half a shekel – Ki Tissa

    half shekelKi Tissa commences with the law of the half shekel. People were counted by means of their half-shekel contributions. The number of half-shekels signified how many Israelites there were.

    Fair enough, but why a half shekel and not a full one?

    The rabbis saw this as a lesson which the Almighty taught to Moses. It showed that were two sides to life, the material and the spiritual. Half the day was for material pursuits, half for spiritual striving.

    God gave the example. He was both immanent and transcendent, both within and beyond the physical world. Human beings had to devote themselves to tilling and tending the earthly world, but not to the exclusion of spiritual concerns… and vice-versa: no-one had right to disdain the earthly realm and seek spirituality without material concerns.

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