FedTalks Parshas Vayakhel (Shekolim)
There is a very beautiful medrash on the special reading that we have in this week’s parsha, parshas Shekolim. Moshe Rabeinu turns to the Ribono shel Oilam and says: given that the mitzvah of giving the machatzis hashekel for the korbanos will not always be operative when there is no longer a beis hamikdosh, there will be no need to solicit to the fund, to the machatzis hashekel. And therefore there will be no kriah, no reason to read the parshah of the machatzis hashekel.
“Mishe’ani mes” Moshe Rabeinu says, “ein ani nizkar”, I will not be mentioned.
And Hakadosh Baruch Hu says to him and I’m going to read the loshon because it is so beautiful. It is a Medrash Tanchuma. Says the Medrash: “Chayecha”. Hashem says “Keshem she’ata omed achshov”- just as you re standing here and now. “venosen lohem parshas Shekolim”- and you give to them parshas Shekolim. “Ve’ato zokef es roishon”- and you, Moshe Rabeinu, lift their heads up. “Ki tiso es rosh bnei Yisroel”. Literally it means ‘to count them’, but the words that we use are “ki tiso es rosh”- you, Moshe Rabeinu, lift their heads up. “Kach bechol shono veshono”- every single year. “shekolel ose lefonai”- when klal Yisroel read the parshah of Shekolim. “Ke’ilu at omed shom”- it is as if you, Moshe, are standing there. “Be’oso sho’oh”- at that moment. “Vezokef es roshom”- and you are lifting up their heads.
Before we go any further, just worthwhile contemplating and reflecting that when we hear the special kriah this week of Parshas Shekolim, close our eyes and think “Vayedaber Hashem el Moshe lemor ki tiso es rosh bne Yisroel”. The Medrash tells us that at some level it is as if Moshe Rabeinu himself is there and he is there ready to lift us up but specifically to lift up our heads. What can this mean?
Perhaps figuratively what this means is as follows: where else have we found Moshe Rabeinu lifting up our heads, making us look upwards, taking us out of the mundane, the things that drag us down and setting our sights and our aspirations and our goals Heavenward? We know, of course, that’s when we first encountered our nemesis Amolek. And Moshe Rabeinu there, not his head but his hands and he lifts up his hands and that has the effect of us being “mistaklin klapei ma’aloh”- that we look up upwards. We are reminded, Moshe Rabeinu is the one who reminds us: I’ve given you Torah. Torah gives you the ability to forget the day-to-day, the troubles and to lose yourself in the geshmack, in the beauty of Torah, its study, its values and its mitzvahs. Being “mistaklin klapei ma’aloh”- look upwards. Always strive to be in shomayim. And Moshe Rabeinu gives us that ability and that koach to do that, “zichru Toras Moshe avdi”, the Torah of Moshe is one that accompanies us.
So when we hear the special kriah this week, look out for those words right at the beginning and perhaps close your eyes and contemplate and think, Moshe Rabeinu is standing there as it were, and exhorting us “ki tiso es rosh”, he is helping us lift our heads up high.