Beit Orot (House of Lights)
On the Torah and Service

by HaRav Aharon Karliner, OBM

c. 1875

It is taught in the Talmud 'On the first of Adar we make announcement regarding [the giving of] the Shekalim',as it said 'This is the offering of the New Moon, month by month, according to the months of the year.' Renew the year, and bring the sacrifice from the new offering. Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) says, 'It is revealed and it is known before the One who spoke and the world came into being, that there will come a time when Haman will weigh the Shekalim against Israel. G-d said; "Precede his Shekels with your Shekels."'

It is possible to say, we learned in the Talmud that we announce regarding the laws of Shekalim and Kilayim (mixed seeds). What is the connection between these two? And furthermore, what does it mean that we make 'announcement'? But in truth, Shekalim is something that enables one to come close to the Holy One, blessed be G-d. This is simple, that through the performance of Commandments a person comes close to HaShem. And Kilayim is the concept of clarification of all things, so that one seed does not get mixed up with another seed. Because in truth, everything is clarifications. And it is necesary to clarify everything so that two things do not get mixed together.

And behold, every year has its particular clarifications. So too, every month, and every day has its clarifications, that it is necesary to clarify at that particular moment. And when the year ends, it is necesary to clarify everything from that previous year. In order that that year will be able to be elevated harmoniously. And this is the explanation of the verse 'This is the offering of the new moon, month by month, according to the months of the year.' As we have spoken, that it is necesary to see that this elevation will occur every year and every month.

And therefore, we are taught in the Talmud, that Adar is the only month that can be a leap-month. Because the month of Adar is at the end of the year, and it is therefore necesary that only Adar is the leap-month, in order that everything will be clarified, and everything will be lifted up in complete harmony.

And in the month of Nisan, the new year begins with new clarifications and new elevations. This is why the Talmud teaches us that we make the announcement regarding the Shekalim and the Kilayim. That is to say; to clarify the good, and to denigrate the bad. Therefore Shekalim is the remedy for Kilayim. Because the main thing is to unify this world and the next world. And this world is called 'half.' When one cleaves this world with the upper world through the fulfilment of the Commandments of G-d, who is blessed, then we effect complete harmony. And this is the Half-Shekel. And as I have heard from my holy father, OBM, 'And each person shall give as an atonement for their soul', the word Kopher (atonement) means 'cleaving'. For it is necesary for one to cleave one's soul to G-d, and then there will be no plague. Meaning, that there will be no power of anything evil over us, G-d forbid. And this is known also, that this world was created with the letter 'hey' (fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet corresonding to the English 'H') which is made up of two different parts. Therefore this world is called a 'half of Shekel'. It is necesary to cleave the one half to the upper half, and to clarify the Kilayim. And this is the explanation of the Talmud, that it is said, 'We make announcement regarding the Shekels and Kilayim.' And this is the reason that there were two Tablets, as we learned in the Midrash; 'corresponding to Heaven and earth.' And this also corresponds to the written Torah and the Oral tradition. This means to say, also to unify the half below with the half above so that they become one.

Translation: R. David Herzberg