This coming Shabbos is Parshas Shekalim – our first step toward yearly redemption from slavery to freedom. How does the “coin of fire” (the half-shekel tribute) achieve this? Just as fire transforms metal, even the hardest heart is transformed by this humble act for the benefit of the community. (Shemos/Exodus 30:11-16; Bava Basra 10b, Rashi).
Also, fire has no weight and strives upward, while a coin has measured weight and is of the earth. The vision of the “coin of fire” teaches that the soul’s yearning upward transforms and shapes its material substance.
Connection with the tzaddik through tzedakah (charity) is an aspect of connection with the mishkan (sanctuary) through giving the half-shekel offering.
Another of the many lessons of the מחצית השקל machtzis hashekel (half shekel donation) is that a Jewish soul is only “half” and needs to connect with another Jewish soul to be complete. Speaker: Rabbi Nasan Maimon, Jerusalem, 5773 (2013).
Parsha 18 – Mishpatim – Parshas Shekalim – A Coin of Fire (CLIP)