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Shekalim: K’lil Tiferet

The 27th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit Rav Yeshayah (ben Moshe) Schorr (1879). His primary teacher was Rav Mordechai of Kremnitz, the son of the Maggid of Zlotchov. Rav Schorr’s last rabbinical post, and the one for which he is best remembered, was in Iasi (on the present-day border between Rumania and Moldova). His best know sefer is Klil Tiferes on chumash. He also wrote responsa Kanfei Nesharim.


The brothers saw Joseph far afar; meaning, they saw his descendants, including Yeravam ben Nevat and Achav, and saw that they would be evil. They suspected that Joseph’s dreams of glory were predicting these evil men and decided to test whether his dreams derived from good or bad by throwing him into the pit to see if he survived. (K’lil Tiferet; Vayeishev)

If the pit was a test; why did they sell him?

Because they only saw halfway; they were able to see generations ahead, but could not see just a few years ahead. Their vision was limited by what they desired to see. They each accepted 10 Maneh, a Half Shekel, for Yoseph’s sale.

We offer the Half Shekel to atone for the money they accepted, and to remind ourselves to ask: Are we looking at the whole picture, or, only half?

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