Shekalim: Rav Chaim Vital
At the sin of the Golden Calf, Israel lapsed only in thought; the action part of the sin was done by the “erev rav”, the mixed multitude. Thought without act is considered half a deed, therefore,
they were commanded to give half a Shekel. (Eitz HaDaat Tov, Ki-Tisa)
Tools: Since the half-Shekel represents the thought aspect of our actions, we should utilize this time to examine our thoughts and intentions when performing Mitsvot. We must remember that although we do not consider ourselves idol-worshipers, when we rely on other powers, even as a subtle thought, we damage ourselves and our relationship with God. This is our opportunity to fix and realign our thoughts with our actions.