God’s Currency

God’s Currency

Feb 12, 2021 By Gordon Tucker | Commentary | Mishpatim | Shabbat Shekalim

The arrival of Parashat Shekalim (plural of shekel) each year is what might be called the liturgical “rite of spring” in the Jewish tradition, signaling that Pesah is six–seven weeks away, and preparations (spiritual and physical) for the great festival are very soon to begin. This year, it will be observed on Rosh Hodesh Adar, when the weekly reading will be Parashat Mishpatim.

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The Experience of Revelation

The Experience of Revelation

Feb 13, 1999 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Mishpatim | Shabbat Shekalim

With exuberance and certainty, the young Heinrich Graetz, not yet 30 but soon to become the greatest Jewish historian of the nineteenth century, made a distinction between Judaism and paganism that would in time become commonplace: “To the pagan, the divine appears within nature as something observable to the eye. He becomes conscious of it as something seen. In contrast, to the Jew who knows that the divine exists beyond, outside of, and prior to nature, God reveals Himself through a demonstration of His will, through the medium of the ear. The human subject becomes conscious of the divine through hearing and obeying. Paganism sees its god, Judaism hears Him; that is, it hears the commandments of His will.”

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Learning From a Gored Ox

Learning From a Gored Ox

Jan 24, 2001 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Mishpatim | Shabbat Shekalim

My comment this week will focus on a single verse that sheds light on a vast and contentious subject. Judaism has long been condemned for harboring traces of a double standard, that is, treating insiders more favorably than outsiders. I have no intention of denying the evidence or taking refuge in the universality of the phenomenon. Rather, I wish to show how Judaism struggled to transcend the pattern and bring its legal practice into sync with its theology. It is, after all, a postulate of the creation story that all members of the human family bear the stamp of God’s image.

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Reverence for Contradictory Texts

Reverence for Contradictory Texts

Feb 5, 2005 By Ismar Schorsch | Commentary | Mishpatim | Shabbat Shekalim

Sometimes the smallest of words contains the largest of meanings.

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Between the Fire and the Cloud

Between the Fire and the Cloud

Mar 2, 2008 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Pekudei | Shabbat Shekalim

As we conclude the book of Exodus and wander further into the wilderness, I cannot help but wonder how different the children of Israel’s lives would have been if they had been equipped with GPS.

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Strengthening Ourselves

Strengthening Ourselves

Mar 5, 2011 By David Marcus | Commentary | Pekudei | Shabbat Shekalim

This Shabbat is one of beginnings and endings. It is a Shabbat of beginnings because it is the first of the four special Shabbatot preceding Pesah, and it is called Shabbat Shekalim. But this Shabbat is also a Shabbat of endings. The parashah for the week, Parashat Pekudei, describes the concluding stages of the construction of the Mishkan by the craftsman Bezalel and the entire band of Israelite workers. 

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Standing with Moses on the Mountaintop

Standing with Moses on the Mountaintop

Feb 18, 2012 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Mishpatim | Shabbat Shekalim

Readers of Mishpatim cannot fail to be struck by the contrast between the main body of the parashah and its conclusion. The former consists for the most part of rather dry case law, covering such things as goring oxen, robbery by day and by night, and release from indentured servitude. The end of the parashah could not be more different in subject and tone.

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Shabbat Shekalim

Shabbat Shekalim

Jan 1, 1980

11 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 When you take a census of the Israelite people according to their enrollment, each shall pay the Lord a ransom for himself on being enrolled, that no plague may come upon them through their being enrolled.

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