Rosh Chodesh Nisan, 5762, New Years for Kings and Festivals!

We enter our fifth year with funds available for the maintenance of the Holy Temple.

Another year of growth and accomplishments! Yesterday, we brought to completion, the restoration of the Commandment of giving the Holy Half-Shekel with the dedication of the Chest for Old Shekels.

As you will recall, in the Holy Temple there stood 13 chests for the collection of funds. Two of these chests were for Shekalim. One chest was called NEW SHEKELS and the other OLD SHEKELS. The Chest for NEW SHEKELS is for this year’s coin, and the Chest for OLD SHEKELS is for make up coins, for years previous in which you did not have an opportunity to give.

Four years ago we dedicated the Chest for NEW SHEKELS, enabling the public to begin giving current year Shekels. Yesterday, with the dedication of the Chest for OLD SHEKELS, we made it possible for you to ‘buy back’ those lost years, one Half-Shekel for every year from the age of 20 till now, to make up for all the years you might have missed fulfilling the Commandment, by depositing the make-up coins in the Chest for OLD SHEKELS.

As with the first giving of the Holy Half-Shekel on Purim of 1998, the Levite responsible for the restoration was the first to ‘break down the fence’ thereby clearing the path for those who follow. The Levite was 39 years old when he gave his first Half-Shekel in 1998, which means that he ‘owed’ for ages 20 38, or 18 coins. Once the Chest for OLD SHEKELS was transferred to Otzar HaMikdash (Temple Treasury see previous UPDATES), he approached the chest, and counting out loud; 20, 21, 22, …37, 38 he dropped coin after coin into the Chest for OLD SHEKELS until he completed making up for all the years he had missed giving.

Now the public can also bring themselves up-to-date by making up for those years in which they had not given in the past.

In the time of the Second Temple, there were points of collection in every city and province in Israel, and throughout the world, for the contribution of the annual Half-Shekel. Make-up coins, however, could only be given directly in Jerusalem. Practically speaking today, that means that OLD SHEKELS can only be delivered directly to the Chest for OLD SHEKELS in Jerusalem, and can not be given at any other collection point, anywhere in the world.

For delivery directly to Jerusalem
Send Hekdesh only, to:

Otzar HaMikdash
P.O. Box 28175
Jerusalem 91281

And be sure to clearly mark them OLD SHEKELS. If you are sending in both New and OLD Shekels, clearly mark those to be used as NEW Shekels and those which go to OLD Shekels, as they go to different Chests.

Or to deliver them personally, send via Couriers (UPS, FEDEX, or to hand deliver) to:

Otzar HaMikdash
Moked Hekdesh
c/o Charlap Associates
65 Yaffo Road (In alley, 2nd floor)

When we created the Chest for NEW SHEKELS we designed it in the shape of the Altar, because the funds from NEW SHEKELS go to maintain the Altar. In designing the Chest for OLD SHEKELS, we designed it in the shape of the Walls of Jerusalem, as the funds from OLD SHEKELS go to the municipality of Jerusalem to build and maintain the Walls of Jerusalem, as well as to cover the costs involved in preparing Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage Festivals. For one who can not read (Hebrew or Aramaic), the chests are immediately identifiable as NEW or OLD by their shape; the Altar or the Walls.

We would like to thank the two principle sponsors who covered most of the cost of the production of the Chest for OLD SHEKELS, Mr. Woody Murray of Alabama, and Mr. Michael Craig of Texas.

As mentioned before, these two chests were for the collection of Shekalim. There were however, another 11 chests in the Temple Treasury. Even though we have completed the restoration of Shekalim, we are considering creating some or all of the remaining 11 chests. We would choose as the next one, the Chest for FRANKINCENSE. If anyone would like to sponsor this chest, it will cost $2500. to build and guild. Please contact us if you would like the honor of sponsoring it. Upon its completion it will be delivered to Otzar HaMikdash.

The second and third Trumat HaLishka ceremonies of last year as well as yesterday’s ceremony, were performed at the offices of Otzar HaMikdash Moked Hekdesh, in the company of Levites, rabbis, and the public.

This year we acquired many new items for our upcoming Museum of the Shekel, including a magnificent Shekel of the First Revolt (Year 2), Tyrian shekels and half-shekels, and two inscribed weights from the First Temple era, sponsored by our friends in Odessa, Texas, as well as many Zionist Shekels and even a promotional poster for the Zionist Shekel that the Zionist Archives does not have. Anyone who would like to sponsor acquisitions, please contact us.

A thought:

The day after Pesach the bakeries in Mea Shearim (an ultra Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem) open and folks stand in line to purchase all sorts of cakes, cookies, breads, and leavened delicacies. Had that bakery opened the day before, there’d be riots in Jerusalem. Fanatics would burn it down. People would shun the baker for the rest of his life. The next day, everyone is eager to hand over their hard earned money to buy his desirable products. What makes the difference between one day and the next? What is it that separates between absolute rejection and absolute acceptance of this baker’s products? The answer of course is HAVDALLAH; the ceremony that distinguishes between one period and another.

It occurred to me that the Torah World treats the Holy Temple like leaven on Pesach (Passover). It is desired, but it is put ‘out of our houses’, out of bounds so to speak. The proclivity of the Torah World to parrot “we’re still in Exile” at every opportunity, even while we stand in Jerusalem under Jewish Sovereignty, means that a way needs to be found to make HAVDALLAH HAVDALLAH from Exile to Redemption so that we can see the Holy Temple as something acceptable, something that we can not and will not live without.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Temple . . .

It occurred to me like a bolt of lightning out of the sky. The Zionist Shekel. The State of Israel. The Holy Half-Shekel. The Holy Temple. Check this out:

1897Theodore Herzl declares the Zionist Shekel at the First Zionist Congress
1898The first Zionist Shekels are used to vote at the Second Zionist Congress
1948The State of Israel is Resurrected 50 years later
1997The restoration of the Holy Half Shekel is declared
1998The first Half-Shekels are used to fulfill the Commandment
2048The Holy Temple 50 years later?

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