Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach

Everybody has to give a half a shekel for the korbonot. There is a whole masechta called Shekalim. Everybody has to give it. Rosh Chodesh Adar, the holy Court would send out messengers to every city and they would sit in the market place and everybody would come give them half a shekel. You are not permitted to give more. If a a rich man says I want to give money for the whole city, they would say it is very sweet of you, but we don't need that. We need Moishele's half a dollar and Yankele's half a dollar.

Transcript of a talk given at Brandeis
27th February, 1974

"Two weeks before Purim the Holy Court would send out messengers. And they would say, 'Everyone give half a Shekel to buy sacrifices for the whole year, and also make sure you don't mix up the seed.' Everything has to be clear. An apple has to be an apple, an orange an organge, grapes have to be grapes, wheat has to be wheat. Everything has to be so clear."

Right now, Purim. The custom before the reading of the Megailla is that we give everybody a half of a shekel.

Let me tell you something so beautiful. The ten Commandments are a whole shekel, and the broken commandments are half a shekel, it is a broken thing.

You know, very person has whole commandments which he didn't break yet, and then everybody has little broken commandments deep down in their souls.

And you know what a good friend is? Somebody who puts his broken tablets and my broken tablets together.

To a lot of people I often openly show my good commandments, but the broken tablets I'm afraid to show.

But then on Purim, we're such good friends, we share our broken commandments. Some day the world will be so close we'll tell each other we all fell. We all broke the commandments.

Let there be peace.

"Here I want to share something with you: when you kiss somebody, you close your eyes.

Do you know what it means?

What do you do when something breaks your heart - you close your eyes: can't see it, don't want to see it - its too deep.

You know, when you kiss somebody, you know what you tell them - I love you so much - but I love you so much, it breaks my heart.

You know why the Jewish people count after the moon. The sun is beautiful, the sun is always whole. The real light is the moon - its full, and its also broken.

You know the Talmud, the book of all books, begins with page two. Page one - the blank paper - its a broken page - nothing's written on it.

And you know when you finish learning, when you learn a little bit, when you study with the deepest depths of your heart and your soul - you kiss the blank paper. Because real learning, the real understanding is - Ah, its so deep, its so deep, I know nothing. Its so deep, its so much deeper than all this. So much deeper.

You see the world wants peace which makes the whole. They don't want that kind of peace which breaks each other's heart.

Want you to know: Once a year there was a collection for the sacrifice of the Holy Temple. And everybody was giving half a shekel - a broken shekel. And this is how we kept the Holy Temple going.

You know what we're telling each other. Ah, it breaks my heart, to be able to buy something for the Holy Temple.

Its so deep; its so deep.

Excerpted from Teachings of Joy and Oneness.