There are two forms of holiness: “Kedushas haguf” (literally ‘holy body’) which means the object was infused with an intrinsic holiness, and “Kedushas Damim” (literally ‘holy value’) which means that the object itself has not become innately holy, but rather its value is dedicated to the Temple treasury. Our discussion involves an object that possesses the inferior level of Kedushas Damim.
 The commentaries seek to explain how the numbers add up. While half a shekel for 600,000 Jews is 300,000 shekalim, Haman’s 10,000 kikar is the equivalent of 15 million shekel (a kikar is 60 mana and a mana is 25 shekel). It seems that Haman gave 25 times the amount of shekalim that Bnei Yisrael gave?
The Shnayim Mikra brings from the Chizkuni that since a person lives 70 years, if one started contributing the half-shekel at the age of 20, and continued to give for the next fifty years, he would have given a total of 25 shekel throughout his life. Thus Haman did not only compensate for the one-time contribution of the nation, but he paid the equivalent of a lifetime’s worth for every single Jew.
See also Maharsha, Chizkuni to Shemos 30:14, Vilna Gaon to Esther 3:9, Rav Tzadok Hakohain inDivrei Sofrim (p. 84).
 Rav Wolfson explained that all materials donated to the Mishkan were used for the holy vessels or holy courtyards. The only exception was these hooks. The hooks were used to hang the curtains upon the outer courtyard walls. The curtains themselves represented the outermost boundary of the inner elevated sanctuary. Therefore, the hooks that upheld them and protruded outwards did not contain the level of sanctity that the Mishkan had. However they were still ‘connected’. This was symbolic of those who donated the silver for those hooks. They themselves may have been ‘cast out’ but they always remained connected.
 As noted Achashveirosh’s party celebrated the fact that the Temple would not be rebuilt. The Jews’ participation in that feast was a terrible affront to G-d and to themselves!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.
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