Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Half-Shekel


"[Haman promised Achashverosh, in exchange for exterminating the Jews:] 'If it is good with the king, I will pay ten thousand silver coins into the king's coffers.'

"Reish Lakish commented: It was revealed and known before the Creator of the Universe that Haman would give shekalim [coins] against the Jews. Therefore, Gd commanded that we precede his shekalim with our own contribution of shekalim. This is why it is taught in a mishnah: On the first day of Adar announcements are made calling people to contribute their shekalim."

(Talmud, Megilah 13b)

"Some have ruled that one should donate a coin which is half the standard unit of currency, to charity, as a memorial to the half-shekel which was given [in the time of the Temple] in the month of Adar.

"Since the word 'donation' is written three times in that section of the Torah which describes this Mitzvah, one should give three of these coins. One should give it on the eve of Purim, before the minchah prayer, and that is the custom in these lands."

(Rama to Code of Jewish Law Orach Chaim 694:1)

Have a great day,

No comments:

Post a Comment