Half a Shekel - connection to life

From Rosh Chodesh Adar and until Rosh Chodesh Nisan, we make a special spiritual connection that is called זכר למחצית השקל’ Half a Shekel’

The Half-Shekel, as detailed in the Torah, specifically in Exodus 30:13, holds significant importance. The verse states:
“זֶה יִתְּנוּ, כָּל-הָעֹבֵר עַל-הַפְּקֻדִים–מַחֲצִית הַשֶּׁקֶל, בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ: עֶשְׂרִים גֵּרָה, הַשֶּׁקֶל–מַחֲצִית הַשֶּׁקֶל, תְּרוּמָה לַיהוָה”
“This they shall give, everyone who passes among those who are counted: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to YHVH.”

Maimonides, in “Laws of Shekalim” (1:5), interprets this half-shekel as equivalent to 160 grains of barley, approximately eight to nine grams of silver today. However, many rabbis estimate the Half-Shekel at 10 grams of silver, aligning with the value of one Shekel, which equals 20 gerahs.

The mandate extends in Exodus 30:14:
“כֹּל, הָעֹבֵר עַל-הַפְּקֻדִים, מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה, וָמָעְלָה–יִתֵּן, תְּרוּמַת יְהוָה”
“All who are registered, 20 years of age and older, are to give a contribution of the LORD.”

This command specifies the obligation for males aged 20 and above, symbolizing a full cycle of spiritual completeness. Post-Temple, the age of obligation shifts to 13, reflecting a boy’s age of commandment responsibility. While women are not mandated, their continued contribution is valued for its spiritual connection.

Equality in contribution is stressed in Exodus 30:15:
“הֶעָשִׁיר לֹא-יַרְבֶּה, וְהַדַּל לֹא יַמְעִיט, מִמַּחֲצִית, הַשָּׁקֶל–לָתֵת אֶת-תְּרוּמַת יְהוָה, לְכַפֵּר עַל-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם.”
“The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel when you give the contribution to YHVH to make atonement for your souls.”

This principle underscores the equal spiritual value of every individual’s contribution, regardless of financial status.

Finally, the purpose of these contributions is outlined in Exodus 30:16:
“וְלָקַחְתָּ אֶת-כֶּסֶף הַכִּפֻּרִים, מֵאֵת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְנָתַתָּ אֹתוֹ, עַל-עֲבֹדַת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד; וְהָיָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְזִכָּרוֹן לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, לְכַפֵּר עַל-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם.”
“You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and give it for the service of the tent of meeting (Holy Tabernacle), that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before YHVH, to make atonement for your souls.”

The Hebrew word for ‘money,’ כסף (Kesef), has a numerical value of 160 and is synonymous with ‘silver.’ This connection is intriguing, especially since we previously discussed that a half-shekel is equivalent to 160 grains of barley. A full Shekel, therefore, weighs 320 grains of barley. According to the Zohar, the growth of barley in the world is uniquely under the direct supervision of YHVH, not governed by any angel or minister. 

The number 320 symbolizes the state of the world post-Tikkun. We are tasked with correcting 288 sparks of Light. The remaining 32 sparks represent a higher level of correction, reserved for Hashem to complete following the revelation of Mashiach. The number 32 is notably significant for the aspect of Creation and the essence of the entire Torah.

Moreover, the word שקל (Shekel) carries a numerical value of 430, which is identical to the value of the word נפש (Nefesh), meaning ‘soul.’ Beyond its literal meaning as ‘weight,’ Shekel embodies the profound bond between the redemption of the soul and the act of giving the Shekel. This equivalence underscores a spiritual principle: the act of contributing the Half a Shekel is not merely a financial transaction but a redemptive process, linking the material donation with the elevation and purification of the soul.

The Hebrew word for ‘half’ is מחצית (Machatzit), which harbors profound spiritual insights. The central letter of מחצית is צ (Tsadi), with a numerical value of 90, representing the Sefirah of Yesod. Yesod serves as the gateway to the upper worlds, bridging the material and the spiritual realms. The letters on the sides of the Tsadi, ח (Chet) and י (Yud), which together form the word חי (Chai), meaning ‘Life,’ with a numerical value of 18.

The letters at the extremes of the word מחצית are מ (Mem) and ת (Tav), spelling מת (Met), which means ‘dead.’

By contributing the half-shekel, we connect the lower self with the supernal level, tapping into the source of life. The significance of this contribution before reading the Scroll of Esther on Purim’s Eve.

Haman offers King Ahasuerus 10,000 talents of silver (כסף, Kesef) to annihilate the Jewish people, using the term אשקול (Eshkol, meaning ‘weight’) to describe the silver (Esther 3:9). By giving the half-shekel and connecting to the energy of life (חי) before this reading, we preemptively counteract and eliminate any traces of Haman’s negative intentions, removing the influence of ‘death’ and negativity.

How is the connection of Half a Shekel made?

Silver coins are utilized to establish a connection to the right column, Chessed. (Gold is avoided as it represents the left column, Gevurah, and money bills are not used either). Only the right hand is employed for this purpose. The three coins are lifted above the head or, at the very least, above eye level. The intent behind this action is to ‘remember’ the Half a Shekel mentioned in the Torah, aiming to elevate our souls from the lower level to their origin in the spiritual realm. This elevation is performed three times to link Chessed, Gevurah, and Tiferet with Chokmah, Binah, and Da’at through the Chessed of the right hand. When Da’at is recognized as one of the upper three Sefirot, it signifies a state of enhanced connection and the flow of Light to the lower level. The funds collected from the Half a Shekel were used in the Holy Temple to buy animals for sacrifices, bringing cleansing light to the people. Likewise, the money donated for the Half a Shekel connection today should be allocated to activities that disseminate Light, benefiting the world at large.

The period for giving the Half a Shekel spans from Rosh Chodesh Adar to Rosh Chodesh Nisan, with the optimal time for this practice being before Purim.

On the day preceding Purim, I will make the connection with silver coins for each name that has been provided to me. To enhance the act of giving Half a Shekel, individuals are encouraged to add an amount for Tzedaka (charity). This aligns with the teaching from Proverbs 11:4, “וּצְדָקָה, תַּצִּיל מִמָּוֶת” (“and Tzedaka delivers from death”), highlighting the transformative power of charitable acts. For the Half a Shekel contribution, the amount is set at $10 per person or name.

Tap here for Half a Shekel

After inputting the amount on the PayPal screen, you will encounter a link to submit the name(s) for the Half a Shekel. Click on the [+] symbol accompanied by ‘Add a note’ or ‘Please list names for meditation.’ Here, you should list your name and/or the names of individuals along with their mother’s or father’s name. Ensure that each name is separated by a comma ‘,’ and placed on a new line for clarity.