In Torah Reading / Parasha Ki Tisa – Hash-m commands Moshe / Moses to build a Mishkan / Tabernacle for Hash-m’s Presence to dwell.
Hash-m tells Moshe to collect half a Shekel coin for each person of Bnai Yisrael / the Children of Israel to make a census. The weigh of a Shekel the coin is 20 Geras. So Half a Shekel Coin is 10 Geras. The Half shekel coin amounted to 10 Geras – was an allusion that the Jews sined against all the 10 commandments – by worshiping the idol of the golden calf. A person should learn to correct themselves from just a light allusion.
When we build a house for ourselves -we use good quality materials. When Hash-m commands us to build a House every single part is infused with Holiness and meaning.
The Half-Shekel coins were used to make the silver sockets – in which the columns of the Mishkan stood upon. All the coins were melted to form a whole. One message is that a family should have the goal of doing what’s good for the family – putting their self interests aside when necessary.
The Builder was Bezalel ben Uri Ben Hur. Hur tried to stop the Jew from building the golden calf. Instead of listening – they killed him. Bezalel could have said – I am not going to build this mishkan for Israel to build receive an atonement – they killed my grandfather. He did not bear a grudge. Do we absolve, let go and forgive or do we keep hatred in the recesses of our hearts?
To enter certain parts of the Mishkan a person had to be purified with the Ashes of the Red Heifer / Para Aduma. A person was who sprinkled upon became Pure – while the sprinkler – became impure. A person who wants peace must be willing to back down to make bring others up.
The Parasha starts will Ki Tisa – When you count. Literally it means – when you uplift. To have peace one should try to start with words that uplift. Your goal should be to uplift the other – not to bring them down.
Parasha / Weekly Torah Weeding Vayishlach talks about the encounter of Yaakov / Jacob – with his brother Esav / Esau. He sends angels to Esav – to calm him after all these years of animosity. He tells the angels say – that “Jacob – your Servant…” He mentions that the angels should tell Esav that he, Yaakov, is his servant eight times. Because of this Esav has eight kings before Yaakov had even one king.
The lesson is not to lose our control, not to look down upon ourselves in other people’s eyes. We should have a healthy amount of self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence. When we look down upon ourselves or put ourselves down we lose. Hash-m wants us to believe in ourselves and think highly of ourselves. It is more important to know our qualities than to know our deficiencies.
Further in the parasha (Bereshit/Genesis 32:23), Yaakov is faulted for putting his daughter in a box – so that Esav would not cast his eyes upon her and want to marry her. She was a righteous girl, while Esav was involved in the worst sins. So how could he be faulted? One answer is that Yaakov should have felt badly when he locked her in the box. Another answer was that – each time Yaakov bowed – when he bowed seven times to Esav – he reduced his shells that prevented him from serving Hashem. Esav – was cleared of his evil side for a short time and then it would have been easier for his wife to turn him around completely.
Two things we learn – even a wicked person can do a complete turn around and start following Torah again and be considered righteous. Another thing – that a woman can trun around her husband to do good or bad. Thus choose a righteous wife that follows Torah.
It says “Who is a Kosher Woman? The wife that does the will of her husband.” It can be interpreted simply as understood. But another way to interpret it – is who is a Kosher woman? One that makes the will of her husband (to do good).
Once a rabbi wanted to marry a woman. He said “In our family the husband is the head.” The woman replied “In our family – the wife is the neck – she turns the head in the proper direction.”