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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Parsha Ki Sisa

Each week, my chevrusa and I go through the first few pasukim of the weekly parsha in Hebrew, translate them, and then talk a little bit about what we just translated. It has been so great, because while my initial goal was simply to work on my Hebrew, I am also gaining a much greater interest in reading the Chumash and knowing each week's Parsha. I have found that going in depth into the first few Pasukim gives me just enough to make me curious about the rest of the Parsha, so I have been going on to read the rest on my own (in English, my Hebrew hasn't improved that much yet). Last night, we were learning Parsha Ki Sisa. Two things struck me. The first was how amazing is it that Hashem accepts a half-shekel from each of us as atonement for our souls. It seems like such a small thing to ask, just a half-shekel, in exchange for such an amazing gift from Hashem - atonement for my soul. I felt like this truly showed Hashem's mercy, that He would accept something so small in exchange for something so big. The other thing that I loved about the concept of the half-shekel was that each person gave the same amount. No one gave more, no one gave less, each person was considered equal. I feel like this was saying that no one's atonement and no one's soul was worth than anyone else's, in Hashem's eyes. Everyone's atonement offering was then put together to be used for the Tent of Meeting, where all the Jews would serve Hashem. What an amazing experience that must have been - for each person to know that they had part of this place of worship, that is would not have been quite complete without their personal donation. I think we should all feel this way every day and know that without each soul, Bnai Yisrael is not totally complete.

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