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Friday, February 17

The Weekly Shtikle - Mishpatim / Shekalim

This past Tuesday, 23 Shevat, marked the 2nd yahrtzeit of my Oma Jakobovits. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Chayah Sarah bas Zechariah Chaim, z"l.


This coming Sunday, 28 Shevat, marks the 10th yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, R' Yitzchak Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yitzchak Chaim ben Moshe Yosef HaLevi, z"l.


One of the prevalent themes of parshas Shekalim is that of equality and unity. Everyone was required to give the exact same amount – no more, no less – no matter how rich or poor he was. This certainly has enormous ramifications regarding self-worth and importance as one is inspired to be bringing the identical donation to the beis hamikdash as the biggest tycoon or greatest talmid chacham, as discussed in numerous commentaries. But there is a flip-side to this idea. At the same time that one realizes that he is equal to everyone else, he must also realize that everyone else is equal to him. The half-shekel must inspire thoughts of self-importance and humility all at the same time.

For this reason, it is fitting that Shekalim comes out on parshas Mishpatim in almost every circumstance during a non-leap year. A large portion of the parsha deals with tort law and the responsibility that each of us has to our neighbour and fellow Jew. The bedrock of this entire area of law is the understanding that we need to respect one another's property and belongings as we would our own. One poignant quote, which is attributed to Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., declares, "your right to swing your arm ends just where the other man's nose begins." The theme of Shekalim underscores the requirement to treat each other as equals and conduct our everyday lives accordingly.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup

Dikdukian: Tricky Vowels

Dikdukian: Answer vs. Torture
Dikdukian: Give it to me
Dikdukian: Ha'isha viladeha

Dikdukian: Jewish Milk

Dikdukian: Three Strikes and you're out

Dikdukian: The Ox and his Friend

Al Pi Cheshbon: 10,000 Kikars


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