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Parshas Pekudei – Shekalim: Forge On

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However, there was still a certain amount of silver remaining after the sockets were made. But Moshe could not recall what that silver was used for. The scoffers immediately began accusing Moshe of pocketing the excess silver. Their unfounded accusation caused Moshe untold distress. Then finally the Divine Presence reminded Moshe that the excess silver had been used to construct the hooks which held up the pillars. “And from the one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five he made hooks for the pillars…[16]

Why did Moshe forget about that remaining silver?

Rav Moshe Wolfson explains that the silver contributed by the 600,000 Jews was used for the sockets. The remaining 3,550 Jews were sinners who were evicted from the main camp. The silver that they contributed was not used for the sockets but for the hooks that upheld the pillars. Because those who were rejected from the camp donated that silver, Moshe could not recall what they were used for.[17]

Haman offered Achashveirosh 10,000 silver talents to counterbalance the half-shekel that the 600,000 Jews gave in the desert. But he did not offer more to counter the contributions of the remaining 3,550 Jews. Haman, like his ancestor Amalek, was sure that the sinners were rejected and were no longer counted with the rest of the nation. Therefore, he felt no need to counter their contribution.

In fact, this was the logic behind Haman’s entire diabolical plan. He was sure that if he could lure the Jews to sin by having them participate in the party of Achashveirosh they would be rejected by G-d and vulnerable to destruction.[18]

But Amalek and Haman were severely mistaken. Every Jew is beloved and precious, and that never changes.

 

One who would say kaddish for himself has given up and has allowed despondency and despair to overtake him. He may be breathing but he is no longer alive, for he has allowed his spirit of vibrancy to wither.

Amalek was convinced that G-d would forsake egregious sinners. The fact that we continue to wage war against our implacable foe proves that no Jew – no matter how far he has strayed – is dispensable or replaceable. The holiday of Purim is the celebration of the infinitesimal and innumerable value of every single Jew. Even when a Jew has given up on himself he must know that His Creator will never give up on him.

 

 

 


[1] “Have A Little Faith,” Mitch Albom.

[2] Megilla 11b

[3] It was in the year 3395 from Creation.

[4] Yirmiyahu 29:10

[5] He erred in his calculation because he thought the seventy years began from when his father, King Nevuchadnezzar, ascended the throne. Achashveirosh also erred in his calculation because he too began the count prematurely. He reckoned that the seventy years began when Yechoniah HaMelech was exiled by Nevuchadnezzar. In truth, the calculation should have begun from when the first Bais HaMikdash was destroyed in 3338. Indeed in 3408, seventy years after its destruction King Darius, the son of Achashveirosh, permitted the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash to commence.

[6] Achashveirosh himself possessed no royal blood. He was a valiant general (Xerxes) who ruthlessly fought his way to the throne. His only legitimacy lay in the fact that he married Vashti, a Babylonian princess.

[7] Chullin 139a

[8] The rooster’s owner pledged the value of the rooster to the Temple.

About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as Guidance Counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. He can be reached at stamtorah@gmail.com. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.


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