Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 30, v. 13: "Machatzis hashekel b'shekel hakodesh" - The gemara Megiloh 13b says in the name of Reish Lokish, "It was known to the One Who created the world that Homon would weigh "shkolim" to purchase the bnei Yisroel and do with them as he wishes. Therefore Hashem preempted him by giving the bnei Yisroel the mitzvoh of giving "shkolim." This is fulfilled as mentioned in the first mishnoh of Shkolim, 'On the first day of the month of Ador announcements are made to give 'shkolim.'"

Tosfos on the gemara Megiloh 16a d.h. "v'dochi" writes that he heard that the 10,000 "kikar" weights of silver that Homon offered Achashveirosh (Megilas Esther 3:9) equals the amount of "shkolim" that the 600,000 bnei Yisroel who left Egypt gave in the form of half-"shkolim," and Homon wanted to give their complete redemption. Tosfos ends by saying that if you calculate it you will find that it is accurate. What is the calculation?

2) Ch. 30, v. 16: "L'zikorone" - As a remembrance - This word is spelled with a letter Vov between the Reish and the Nun. "Zikorone" is likewise the theme of the stones on the shoulder straps of the "eifode" (Shmos 28:12), but there it is spelled without the letter Vov. Why the difference?

3) Ch. 30, v. 35: "M'muloch" - What is the translation of this word?

4) Ch. 32, v. 14: "Va'yino'cheim Hashem al horo'oh asher di'beir laasose l'amo" - Why did Hashem forgive the nation the sin of worshipping the golden calf even though we do not find that they repented for their sin, and not forgive the sin of the spies (Bmidbar 14:29) even though they regretted their sin?

5) Ch. 34, v. 6: "Hashem Hashem" - The gemara R.H. 17b tells us that when the 13 attributes of mercy are invoked Hashem always responds positively. The gemara says that the double word Hashem refers to mercy for the sinner, once before he sins and once after he sins. Why is it necessary to have mercy before one has sinned?



1) The Chizkuni on our verse independent of Tosfos gives us a calculation of how Homon's 10,000 "kikar" weights of silver equal the amount of half-shkolim 600,000 bnei Yisroel would give. On average people live seventy years. The responsibility to give a half-shekel begins at the age of twenty (This is contested by some. See the Torah T'mimoh who lists and explains the opinions.) as is written in the following verse, "mi'ben ESRIM shonoh." On average people give a half-shekel for fifty years. The type of half-shekel given is in the "shekel hakodesh" coin system, which has double the value of non-kodesh "shkolim," hence 25 "shiklei hakodesh" given in a lifetime equal 50 standard shkolim. Fifty "shkolim" equal 100 zuzim, given on average by each person. Sixty people would give 6,000 "zuzim," equal to 60 "monoh," the weight of a "kikar" of silver, as one unit of "kesef" is the same as a "zuz." Ten-thousand times this amount was given by 600,000 people as 60 goes into 600,000 ten-thousand times. Thus a total of 10,000 "kikar kesef," was given by these 600,000 people, and Homon offered an equal amount. The Ba"ch on the above Tosfos calculates exactly as the Chizkuni and says that this is the intention of the Tosfos.

2) The Targum Sheini on Megilas Esther simply states that Homon offered 100 "kesef" for each of the 600,000 bnei Yisroel who left Egypt. He does not explain why 100 "kesef" per person was offered.

3) I believe that the calculation of the Chizkuni is not that of the Tosfos. Tosfos clearly mentioned that the amount was to equal that given by the bnei Yisroel WHO LEFT EGYPT. The 600,000 adults who left Egypt above the age of 20 years did not start giving a half-shekel until the second year in the desert at the time of the building of the Mishkon, at the earliest being 21 years of age, thus allowing for only 49 years of giving, and also, they did not live beyond the age of sixty because of the death sentence brought on by their sinning at the time of the sending of the spies, as recorded in Bmidbar 14:29. This further reduces their giving to 39 years. Thus the calculation Tosfos had in mind seems to not be that of the Chizkuni.

Perhaps the intention of Tosfos can be explained with the words of the Rabbeinu Chanan'eil mentioned in Tosfos d.h. "Odom" on the gemara Sotoh 5a. He says that the weight of a "rvi'is halug" of blood, the minimal amount required to be in a person's circulatory system to stay alive, is that of 25 "shkolim." The R'vid Hazohov explains according to this that the giving of a half-shekel is a fiftieth weight of that of a "rvi'is" of blood. Thus a half-shekel is truly a tithing, a "trumoh" as mentioned in the end of our verse, since the average tithing of "trumoh" is one part of fifty.

As mentioned earlier, Tosfos said that Homon wanted to give their COMPLETE redemption. The R'vid Hazohov says that this likely means "shkolim" for the complete weight of their blood, 25 "shkolim", 100 kesef, per person. We thus arrive at exactly 10,000 "kikar kesef."


1) The remembrance of the stones only functions when the Kohein Godol is wearing the "eifode," while as long as the Mishkon stands the silver of the "adonim" is a remembrance. (Moshav Z'keinim)

2) Sometimes when the "choshen" and "eifode" were consulted no answer came forth. (Tosfos Hasho'leim) I do not understand why the "eifode" is incorporated into this, since only the "urim" and "tumim" in the "choshen" were asked. Perhaps there was a combined power of both these items, as they both contained gemstones.

3) The remembrance of the Mishkon is permanent, even after the Beis Hamikdosh was functioning, and even after it was destroyed, as we derive from "atzei shitim omdim" (Shmos 26:15), that they are erect forever (gemara Sukoh 45b). (Nirreh li)

We also find "zikorone" with a letter Vov in Shmos 13:9, referring to tefillin, "ulzikorone bein ei'necho." This again connotes permanence, as per the words of the Rashbam, that the tefillin be a remembrance upon one's arm and head as if the words they contain are permanently imbedded upon us, even when we are not wearing them. (Nirreh li)


1) Rashi says that this means that the different spices should be well blended.

2) The Ramban and Ibn Ezra in his first explanation say that it means that they should have "melach S'domis," sulfurous salt found where the city of S'dome once stood, added to it, as per the gemara Krisus 6a.

3) Alternatively, the Ramban and the Ibn Ezra in his second explanation offer that it means finely ground, and the letter Lamed of this word can be considered extra as per Yeshayohu 51:6 "ki shomayim ke'oshon nimlochu," leaving us with the word form "moch," meaning finely ground.


This question is raised by the Holy Admor of Kotzk. He answers that even though the sin of the golden calf was devastating, nevertheless the bnei Yisroel were in pursuit of spirituality, "Kum assei lonu elohim." This was not the case with the sin of the spies where they sinned in pursuit of imagined physical gains only. (Emes Mei'eretz Titzmach page 48)


1) The Riv"o answers that since Hashem knows what the future will bring, even before the sin there is a need for mercy.

2) The Holy Admor of Kotzk says that forgiveness is required for one who feels that he is perfect and has not sinned.



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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