Parshat Ki Tisa

The beginning of Parshat Ki Tisa talks about the commandment to give the half shekel coin to the Beit Hamikdash. The Torah (30:13) tells us that every Jew from the age of twenty and up shall give a half shekel coin as a donation to the Beit Hamikdash. Rashi, quoting the Midrash Tanchuma, explains that Hashem showed Moshe a מטבע של אש- a coin of fire, whose weight was half a shekel, and told him that Bnei Yisrael should give a coin like this. What is this מטבע של אש? Why did G-d need to show Moshe in such a round-a-bout way what a half shekel coin looked like?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe gives a fascinating answer. He explains that the word מטבע comes from the word טבע-nature. A coin is something that is fit to an exact size and exact measurement. A coin represents following the strict guidelines and laws. And what does fire represent (If you haven’t already figured it out from this Dvar Torah series)? Fire represents a passion- taking what is mundane and making it special. The role of a Jew is to be able to fuse these two ideas together. One must be able to follow the rules and perform the commandments- but they have to be done with a passion and an excitement. Hashem doesn’t want us to serve Him by just going through the motions, and on the same token being passionate and loving G-d without following any rules is also no good. One without the other is no good. This fusion is exactly what Hashem was demonstrating to Moshe. Hashem wanted Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael to take this coin of fire and donate it to the Beit Hamikdash- to their service of Hashem.
Have a great Shabbos!

Student Studying in Yeshivat Hakotel