An ignorant patient once approached a doctor asking for his analysis on his brain. The doctor examined the patient and told him, “I’m sorry to tell you that your brain has two halves.
The left half has nothing right in it, and the right half has nothing left in it.”
Many times through life we don’t seem to be reaching out to our full potential – we seem to be filling the glass only half, at others we are completely empty, only occasionally do we reach our target. How can we go for and realise that potential?
Let us take some insight from this weeks Parasha.
The Torah relates about the upkeep of the temple in the wilderness (Mishkan) via a collection of Machatsit Hashekel (half shekel).
Every man, whether rich or poor had to give half a shekel contribution to the Mishkan.
Our sages ask many questions on this episode; let us concentrate on a few.
Why they were commanded to give half a coin? What was the symbol of this half?
Furthermore when it came to this half a shekel, it seems that even Moshe was confused.
Rashi cites a Midrash that Moshe had difficulty envisioning this. Hashem showed Moshe the appearance of a coin made from fire weighing a half shekel and told him “This is what they shall give.”
After this Moshe understood, but why did Hashem show the coin specifically to Moshe as a coin made of fire?
The Alshich Hakadosh explains that Hashem wanted to portray an important message to the entire congregation. Everyone had to give a half a shekel as opposed to a whole shekel, to imply that Am Yisrael is only whole, when we get together. Two halves that join together make one.
In our single status we are not complete.
When Hashem first created Adam, it was a combination of man and women. Hashem then split Adam and Chava, and the duty of every man since then is to find his soul mate, to settle down and get married. For this reason the Talmud calls an unmarried man a Palga Ish – half a man. When two halves combine a whole is created. Similarly when we all join in unity then we are a united force, otherwise we are divided and only worth half.
The Admor Mibohush Shlita gives an awesome insight as to why Moshe was shown a coin of fire.
Every Motsei Shabbat at Havdala we light a candle and bless Hashem – Borei Morei Haeish – for creating fire.
Why do we bless Hashem on Motsei Shabbat for creating fire?
Our Sages explain that when Adam sinned he lost the merit to stay in Gan Eden, yet Hashem in His mercy allowed Adam to stay there for Shabbat. As soon as Shabbat was over, he was banished and entered a dark world. He was alone and didn’t know how to bring light to this darkness. He prayed to Hashem and He informed him that by taking two stones a spark could be created.
Hence fire was ‘created’ by man on Motsei Shabbat, and as we enter the new week, we thank G-d for this creation.
Take a look at a stone, what do you see?
Perhaps you can use it as a door stopper, yet on the inside it has the ability to create fire.
Can it do this alone?
No. In order to create fire, there has to be two stones rubbing away at each other.
This says the Admor is why Moshe was shown the coin in fire.
Its value would be half, in order to emphasise that in order to reach your full potential you must join with others. Team work and unity amongst Am Yisrael are essential.
But there is a further dimension – that of the individual;
In relating to the artisans that would build the Mishkan, Moshe was told ‘’See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri…’. Betsalel was a man ‘filled with the spirit of G-d, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge’.
Yet this is the first time we are introduced to him. We have no recollection of who he is beforehand.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Zts’l asks why Hashem told Moshe to ‘see’. How was he supposed to see, if he didn’t know this person before.
Rabbi Feinstein Zts’l gives an awesome answer.
Everyone is created with fantastic qualities. We each differ in our blessings. But we have to know and understand those blessings and if Hashem has blessed us, we should ‘see’ that this blessing is for a reason. If we have great potential it is because Hashem created us that way in order for us to do great things.
Look at that potential and go for it.
Moshe was told – look – see, I have blessed Betsalel for a reason. He has great intelligence and understanding and he is the one that will be able to build the temple.
Thus the Parasha emphasises the individual together with the whole.
Each of us has incredible potential; we should introspect and understand that potential in order to bring it to light. But at the same time we should comprehend that the potential also requires joining others in unity. For as King Solomon wisely stated – two are better then one.