Shabbat Shekalim (Parashat Pekudei) A Search for Identity

The nation’s character remains a mystery. The Israelites’ actions represent a psychological contradiction that creates an incoherent picture.

Once a year, on the first of day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the “shekel tax” was levied to support the Temple in Jerusalem. From all the communities of the Jewish Diaspora, messengers were sent with coins for deposit in a special office on the Temple Mount. To commemorate that ancient practice, the Sabbath before the first of Adar (this year, a leap year, it’s the first day...