To Bless or Not to Bless, That is the Question
A remarkable thing happened on the way to the Temple. With the imminent restoration of the fulfillment of the Commandment of giving a Holy Half-Shekel, the question arose; "what blessing do you say when you give the Half-Shekel?"
We asked high and low, and found that no one knew. We set out to find the answer and several weeks ago were rewarded with the teachings of the RaShBa (13th century), which informed us that indeed, there is no blessing recited. Okay we said, although I had personally felt there should be a blessing, as it is the fulfillment of a Torah Commandment in and of itself. So we posted our findings and announced that no blessing is recited. And we did not stop searching. We went back another 100 years and what do we find? Rabbi Yehudah ben Yakar (12th century) not only teaches that we do make a blessing, he even brings down its text. Amen!
Now the good stuff starts. We will have to extract a P'sak Din (Halachacic ruling) from today's Rabbanim, informing us of which opinion is the accepted one. Do we make a blessing or not?
Perhaps prior to the rebuilding of the Temple we don't, and once it stands, we do. Or perhaps the fulfillment of the Commandment is fully carried out in its giving, thereby allowing for a blessing even prior to rebuilding the Temple. Stay tuned ...
Teachings Regarding the Blessing for the Half-Shekel