HALF AND WHOLE ­ Article ­ BINA

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HALF AND WHOLE

by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

Tomorrow in Shul we will read a special portion called Shekalim. We learn of the Mitzvah called "Machtzis Hashekel" - the  yearly tax of 'half a Shekel'  that was given in the time of the Temple. 

In reading about this Mitzvah we discover two opposite points of emphasis.  The first is that this it has to be a half a shekel.  The wealthy were not permitted to give more and the poor were not permitted to give less - everyone had to connect to the concept of a "half".  On the other hand, the Torah mentions that the smaller currency that the shekel was made up of, was twenty "geira" (an ancient currency). Half of a Shekel, therefore equals ten geira. The number ten symbolises wholeness and perfection. Our soul is governed by 10 powers and it takes 10 men to make a minyan. This is very different to the incompleteness of a 'half'. 

This seeming paradox teaches an important and relevant lesson. Our mission in life is not to achieve perfection.  It is okay to be deficient, as long we engage in growth by putting in maximum effort.  We might remain 'half' and incomplete but we can still invest all of our ten powers that make up our personality.

We do not have to be perfect but we have to give it all we've got.

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