1997What an intersting beginning Parshat Ki Tissa has. The children of Israel are mandated to contribute a half of a Shekels worth of silver for the Tent of Meeting. We are told that whether one is poor or rich they are not allowed to give more or less than the prescribed amount. We are also told that those over the age of twenty are obliged to contribute and that this contribution will be considered an atonement.
Making Sense of the Census: A look at the Shekel in Parshat Ki Tissa
Rashi, the most renowned of medieval commentators, explains that the Hebrew word for contribution, Terumah is used three times in these verses and therefore, he learns that there were three specific projects for which the contributions were used.
One of those projects was the hundred talents of silver from which the sockets, the ADaNYm were created. Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla, a 13th century Kabbalist, the author of Gates of Light, notices that the Hebrew word ADaNYM has the same root as ADoNaY (which because it is a Name of God is traditionally pronounced only in ritual contexts, and otherwise is pronounced as Adoshem).
The Name Adoshem according to Jewish mystical tradition represents the aspect of God that is closest to the people. This Name receives all the everflowing energy from all the other Names and aspects of God, just as the Adanym are open to receiving the poles of the tabernacle, so, too, Adoshem receives the channels of holiness from all the other emanations of God.
In order to have this intimacy with God the children of Israel had to equally contribute as one, to build the place where God would dwell. Now, God would be able to channel that everflowing energy through the building that represented all of Israel equally.
Rabbi Gikatilla also noticed that there were one hundred ADaNYM, and that there was a Talmudic requirement to say one hundred blessings a day. He noticed that the Hebrew word for blessing, BRaCHa, shared the same root for the hebrew word for pool, BRAyCHa. A pool is the receptacle for the blessings we would receive from the Adanym. Just as the Adanym received Adoshem in the sacred structure, so, too the hundred Brachot receive the everflowing energy from the celestial Adanym.
Our hundred blessings, our consciousness of the sacred create a sacred space through which God is present. We bask in the light that is created by our blessings. Just as God built the sockets with our silver, we now equally together garner the blessings for Israel through our blessings.
Ourt collective consciousness of holiness creates an intimacy with the Creator from which the whole world benefits. As we plod along with mundane concerns, blessing the ordinary makes the world extraordinary and creates a structure of consciousness, an idealized form of the Sanctuary of Moses.
Prepared by Rabbi Avi Weinstein.