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Shekalim 6: The Throne of God

The Midrash Tanchuma teaches us that God showed Moses a coin of fire situated beneath His throne. It appears strange that God did not simply inform Moses of the weight of the coin in question. Moreover, why was God interested in a Half Shekel? He should have at least asked for a full shekel?

God told Moshe that the visible element in this Mitzvah is secondary to the invisible element. The Throne of God represents God’s Presence in the world. This Throne and its location are determined by the conduct of the Jewish People. The Half Shekel represents Israel’s actions that caused God to distance Himself from Israel. The Golden Calf had diminished the Presence of God, His Throne, in their midst. Every Mitzvah is meant to close a gap that may exist between God and man. The contribution of the Half Shekel restored their, and restores our, closeness with God. The coins were melted down and used as Adanim – Fittings for the panels of the Mishkan – to restore God’s Presence, to anchor the Throne in our world. (Or Hachaim HaKodesh, Exodus 30:13)

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