The truth can be said that it is not our custom to occupy ourselves with calculating possible dates for redemption, because we are commanded to “Be sincere with Havayah, your God,” as Rashi interprets, “Walk with Him in sincerity and anticipate Him and do not research the future.” Nonetheless, since such a clear allusion has come our way, we can certainly relate to this allusion to discover what it means to us, and what we can learn from it. In order to do so, we need to look at the original context of the above mentioned verse.

In the verses that precede this verse, Moses gives his account of what he did with the contributions that were donated for building the Tabernacle. Each of the Jewish People gave a coin that weighed one half of a shekel (a Biblical measure of weight), and all the silver that was collected was used in the construction of the Tabernacle. The half shekels of 600,000 people totaled one hundred talents (each talent weighed 3000 shekels) from which the silver sockets for the pillars of the Tabernacle were molded. But, the exact census of Jewish People was 603,550, so there remained another 3550 half shekels, i.e., 1775 shekels, from which Moses made the silver hooks at the top of the pillars and coated the tops of the pillars and their bands, as mentioned in the verse. What is the inner meaning of this? The number 600,000 symbolizes the wholeness of the Jewish People and therefore was emphasized at the Exodus, at the Giving of the Torah, and at the entry into the Holy Land, which took place while this was the total of the census. From a Kabbalistic perspective, this number reflects the soul roots of the Jewish People throughout history, and even though today there are millions of Jews around the world, thank God, and may there be ever more, nonetheless the basic number remains 600,000 soul-roots, which divide into branches and sub-branches. Jewish souls have a close connection with the Torah, as the Zohar states, “Israel are connected to the Torah and the Torah is connected to God.” Just as there are 600,000 Jewish souls, so too “There are 600,000 letters in the Torah” (יֵשׁ שִׁשִׁים רִיבּוֹא אוֹתִיוֹת לַתוֹרָה), a fact that itself alludes to the connection with the Jewish People, since the initial letters of the Hebrew phrase spell out the name “Israel” (יִשְׂרָאֵל). So, every Jew has their own letter in the Torah (and this is where Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, drew the inspiration for the wonderful idea of writing a Torah scroll for the entire Jewish People, in which every Jew can buy their own letter.) But, what about the remainder? Those 3550 remaining souls who we don’t usually pay much attention to? There is an amazing Midrash which relates that when Moses gave his account of how he had made use of all the donations, when he reached this remainder, he couldn’t remember how he had made use of it! Moses was so worried that the skeptics would think that he had desecrated their heartfelt donations by using the silver for his own use, God-forbid, that he was miraculously reminded of how he had used them. Moses gave the Torah to the People of Israel and as such he saw in the Torah the letter associated with each Jewish soul, but why did these Jews slip his mind? Rabbi Moshe Sofer (author of the Chatam Sofer, a great teacher of Jewish law) said that those 3550 “surplus” souls don’t have a corresponding letter in the Torah scroll! Can this mean that there are some Jews who have no connection to the Torah and are so distanced from the Torah, that there is no hope for them, God forbid? Although it might seem to be this way from a superficial perspective, contemplating those souls more carefully we discover that when even Moses could not remember how they were connected to the Torah. It was God Himself who reminded Moses where their contribution to the Tabernacle was located. This means that these special souls have a direct connection to God that bypasses the connection with the Torah and can suddenly be revealed in them when God Himself gives them a personal reminder of their Divine soul-root.

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Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh is the Dean of Yeshivah Od Yosef Chai in Yitzhar. For more of Rabbi Ginsburgh's teachings, please visit Inner.org.
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