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Shekalim and Zachor

Written by Rabbi Rudman, 23/3/2020

Shekalim and Zachor

On each of the Shabbasos of the month of Adar we read a special Parsha. Based on that each the Shabbasos has a special designation. Even the Shabbos that we do not have read one of the four Parshiyot is called “A Shabbos of a Recess”. We find in some the Sifrei Chasidus that it is not just that it is convenient to read them on Shabbos, but there is an inherent connection between Shabbos and these Parshiyos. What can we derive and understand from this? I would like to concentrate this week on the Parshah of Shekalim which we already read, and Zachor which we are about to read.

The Sfas Emes writes that we see that on Shabbos the ramifications of the Churban are nullified. The Shem Mishmuel also brings this same idea . The purpose of the Bais HaMikdosh is to introduce Kedusha into the world and every moment that we can hasten the arrival of that Kedusha would be important. Then why does the Halacha stipulate we suspend the construction of the Mishkan and Mikdosh on Shabbos? The answer is that on Shabbos their nonexistence is not crucial. The Kedusha of Shabbos compensates for lack of a Mikdosh.

There is another way to grasp this idea. There are three axes of the world; space, time, and people. Each has its own locus of Kedusha. It is brought down that the Kedusha of Shabbos in time; is parallel to the Kedusha of the Mikdosh in space. Therefore, either one is sufficient. With this idea he explains the Zemer of Kol Mekadesh Shevii. The Zemer says that those who love HaShem who are awaiting the construction of the Ariel – the Mikdosh, can also be happy as by Matan Torah. That is because at Matan Torah the Mikdosh was not needed since the world had reached perfection. Since on Shabbos the lack of the Mikdosh is not felt, even those who are in Aveilus from the Mishkan can be happy, with the Kedusha of the Shabbos.

Therefore, on Shabbos we can read the Parsha of the Shekalim as if the Bais HaMikdosh is in existence. Even if there are no Korbanos, the goal is not the Korban but the Kedusha that is derived. The Shekalim are also not just to bring physical Korbanos. They are for a person to show their dedication to the Kedusha of the Mishkan. On Shabbos even when there is no Mishkan we can still do that. Even more, the Mitzvoth of Shabbos are all without action. So, by reading the Torah of the Shekalim even without the action we can demonstrate our willingness to dedicate ourselves to the Kedusha of the Mishkan.

Further, the Mishkan was never destroyed, it was only placed in Genizah in a place of concealment. The Kedusha still permeates the world. Shabbos is a gift from HaShem from his hidden treasure house, His place of Genizah. Therefore, on Shabbos the light of that treasure remains. Even if it is hidden it still illuminates the world. That is why by reading the Parsha on Shabbos, we can then give the hidden Shekalim of the hidden Mishkan.

Following Shekalim is Zachor. There is a Machlokes in the Gemarra about when to read Zachor when Shabbos is on Purim, as it can sometimes be in Yerushalayim. One opinion is that the reading of Zachor needs to be before the fulfillment of the Megilah so it should be read the week before. The other opinion does not require that, and says you read it on Shabbos of Purim. But even according to the second opinion, Zachor is always read on Shabbos. Since according to the second opinion we do not need to read it before Purim, why not always do both Zachor and Megilah on Purim? It would be easier. The answer is that Zachor needs to be on Shabbos. Why?

The Shem MiShmuel explains this . We find at the beginning of Melachim that Shlomo executes all the enemies of Malchus Bais Dovid. The one who is appointed the executioner is Bnayahu ben Yehoyada. But we see in Shmuel Beis that he is a Cohen as, and obviously a Cohen cannot be in contact with a dead body. The obvious Pshat is that Banyahu was only the officer in charge, but not the actual executioner. But still why is he the designated officer in charge?

The Shem MiShmuel explains this in the name of his father, the Avnei Neizer. Whenever someone needs to act cruelly, even in the context of a Mitzvah there is a danger. Within the zealousness of the performance of the Mitzvah, a bit of cruelty might creep in. Therefore, to keep that from happening, Shlomo chose a Cohen to supervise the executions. A Cohen is a paragon of Chesed. They are descendants of Aharon who loved and pursued peace. The Bracha on Birchas Cohanim requires Shalom. A Cohen who murders cannot perform Birchas Cohanim. Therefore, even within the context of the Shlomo’s command, Bnayahu will not allow this to turn him and others into killers.

So too with the Mitzvah of eradicating Amalek. There are enough reasons other than HaShem’s command to want to wipe out Amalek. Aside from whatever spiritual damage that they caused, there were also physical effects. Firstly, their attack caused other nations to feel safe to attack us.

In addition, their attack also interrupted the unbroken climb from leaving Mitzrayim till Matan Torah. That interruption was one of the reasons for the Eigel. The Sfas Emes explains this idea . The Midrash says that when Moshe descends from Har Sinai with the first Luchos, Yehoshua is waiting for him. Moshe asks Yehoshua, “What do you hear?” Yehoshua answers that he hears a battle in the camp. Moshe seems to disagree. But explains the Sfas Emes that Yehoshua was not completely incorrect. When Amalek attacked it caused that break in the preparation for Matan Torah. Therefore that enabled the sin. Therefore, it was the voice of Amalek in the camp. If not for Amalek the world would have reached perfection at Matan Torah, and there would have never been a Galus and all the physical persecution we have suffered. Even though it affected our Ruchniyus, the delay of Moshiach is also an external reason to hate Amalek.

But we have to desire to destroy Amalek only because of spiritual reasons. Therefore, we read Parshas Zachor on Shabbos. Shabbos is a time for a person to lift themselves above any physical calculations and do things totally for Ruchniyus reasons. That is what we are reminding ourselves by reading it specifically on Shabbos.

There are other explanations found, but this is sufficient to give us a taste of the depth of Shabbos in connection with the Mitzvoth of these Shabbasos. May we be ready to fulfill these Mitzvoth completely in the time of Moshiach speedily.

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