(Shabbat Shekalim)

(Exodus 21:1-24:18)

(Haftara: Melachim 2, 11:17-12:17)

1. [21:1] “These are the laws that you will put in front of them.”  The Torah should say, “These are the laws that you will teach them” or “command them”. Why does the pasuk say: “…that you will put in front of them”?

2. [21:37] “…(the thief) will pay 5 cows for stealing a cow, and 4 sheep for stealing a sheep.”  The Talmud tells us that the Torah makes the thief pay more for stealing a cow because a cow can do work and the Torah is showing us that it values work. If the Torah values physical work so much, why isn’t there a commandment telling us that we must work physically?

3. [22:30] “And people of holiness you will be for me…”.  At the beginning of the book of Vayikra, the Torah says, “Be holy ones”. What is the Torah adding here by saying, “Be holy people…”?

4. [23:5 ] “If you see the donkey of someone who hates you weighed down by its load…help him.”   Some translate “your enemy” as “someone who hates you” and some say that it makes no difference whether you hate him or he hates you, you must help him.  What is the difference between these two translations?

5. [Shabbat shekalim]  On Shabbat shekalim, we read in the Torah about how everyone must give half a shekel for the tabernacle. The rabbis see this as a commandment that shows that everyone is equal. We know however, that people are not equal. Some are more intelligent, stronger, prettier, richer than others. In what way is everyone equal?

Commentary

The goal of the people of Israel in the world is not the spreading of ideas through teaching or openly expanding their influence.  But when the people of Israel keep faithfully to their unique attributes, this itself elevates mankind.

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg

And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker