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Shekalim: Rav Kook

Originally, when Israel proclaimed “We will do” and “We will understand”, one angel provided each person with two crowns. After the sin of the Golden Calf, there were separate

angels designated to remove each crown. The unity between the symbol of the two crowns had been dissolved. Natural law predicated on human understanding, and divine law predicated on unquestioning submission to divine authority, were torn asunder.
In some way, the act of donating the Shekalim to the Tabernacle is an atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. It can be effective only by Israel demonstrating that they once again are capable of performing a rational commandment, a deed that belongs within the realm of natural law, for the simple reason that God commanded it.

It is an accepted practice to donate money to charity. Decency demands that human beings take care of another. A Jew should give charity because God commanded it. It is a normal thing to contribute financially to the institutions one is a member of. But, we were to give the Shekalim with the specific approach that subjugates natural law to divine law. This is how we can reclaim our state of holiness; for this reason, the coin is referred to as “Shekel HaKodesh”, “the holy Shekel”.

What lifted up the head of the Children of Israel and restored their level of commitment to the unification of the two crowns was by proving that they still had the ability to transcend the natural law. (Based on In The Desert- A Vision, by Rav Kook)

ToolsTools: When we perform a “Chesed”, an act of charity, or all other commandments that could be dictated by natural or social laws, we should try to do it just because this is what God commanded us to do. Developing this awareness in areas where we tend to be motivated by other factors is a very powerful tool in Yirat Hashem, Awe of God.

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