Thursday, February 23, 2017

1 + 1 = A Holy One

Audio Version By Rabbi Sholem Perl
Print Version
This week we read and extra Torah reading, Shekalim. Every Jewish male was required to giv e a silver half holy shekel coin which went for the communal offerings.

A holy shekel was 20 gera. A half of a holy shekel was 10 gera, which is the value of a regular, not holy, shekel. So, a half holy shekel is a regular shekel.

Why a half shekel? And if a half holy shekel is a regular shekel, why not say shekel?

It is similar to what the Maggid of Mezrich explains about the trumpets that Hashem commanded Moshe to make. He said, "Make for yourself two chatzotzros (trumpets)." The word chatzotzros could be divided into chatzi tzuros, which means half forms.  "Two chatzotzros," means that Hashem and the Jewish people, are, so to speak, two half forms, that together complete each other. Same too, every Jew is like a half and become whole through connecting with other half shekels, other Jewish people.

How does this work?

Hashem created us in His image. Kabbalistic teaching explains, that just as Hashem has 10 G-dly attributes, we too have these 10 attributes. And just as Hashem connects to the world with both masculine and feminine aspects, as sometimes He is called Hakadosh Baruch Hu, the Blessed One Be He (masculine). Other times, as Shechina, the Divine Presence (written in the feminine). So too, we are divided into two genders, each with a unique purpose.

Our great sages tell us, that when "Ten (Jewish people) eat together, the Shechina shines." They are not davening or learning, all they are doing is eating and the Shechina "shines!" Why?

In some way, because we have a Neshama, which is a part of Hashem, we each carry the Shechina with us. Now, when ten of us are together, the Shechina shines, regardless of what we are doing. I can just imagine, that adding davening and learning Torah to the gathering can take the Shechina from a shine to a great bright light.

When a Jew connects with Hashem, you have both halfs of the form, each half is a whole on its own, each is 10, a whole shekel, but together, they become a holy shekel.

The same is true for Jewish people. Each one of us are perfect on our own, but we are only half of a holy shekel, we need another to be whole. The mitzvah of loving your fellow, makes you whole. Hashem likes to be where there is love and unity amongst friends.

This, of course, is also the case for couples. When you are together in a loving relationship,  you are two halfs that become one whole. In order for that to happen, you have to see your partner, not as a half, but as a whole. And then the two shekels, become one holy shekel. When this happens, Hashem wants to take part in your relationship, if you bring Hashem in, you take your relationship to a whole new level.

Hashem wants us to connect with him, however, He wants us to love each other first.

May Hashem bless us with good and strong relationships, with our friends, spouses, and ultimately with Him. Our unity and love will surely beget us the ultimate and open relationship with Hashem that we yearn for, with the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.

Dedicated to my wife, Dina Hurwitz, my other half shekel, who has been a rock throughout my difficult battle with ALS.


  1. Thanku so much for ur inspiring words. May u have a refuah shleima.

  2. Your Divrei Torah are so inspiring and practical. I love reading them, and seeing your connection to daily life and relationships.
    May Hashem grant you a complete Refuah now!