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    Parashat Ki-Tisa
    begins with the

    Misva of “Maha-
    sit Ha’shekel” – the

    mandatory half-
    shekel tax that was

    imposed upon all
    members of Beneh Yisrael. The first time
    this tax was collected, the silver coins were
    used to make the “Adanim,” the sockets that
    formed the foundation of the Mishkan. All
    the other parts of the Mishkan were made

    from materials that the people donated vol-
    untarily. The sockets, however, were sup-
    plied through a mandatory half-shekel flat

    tax imposed upon each and every member
    of the nation.
    One Rabbi commented that the sockets

    which formed the foundation of the Mish-
    kan represent the foundation of the Jewish

    religion. Of course, each and every Hala-
    chic detail is crucial and indispensable. But

    the foundation, the basis of it all, is faith in

    Hashem. Without faith, sincere commit-
    ment to the Torah’s precepts is impossible.

    And this is why the sockets were supplied
    through a mandatory tax. When it comes
    to other Misvot, we find some commands
    that are directed toward certain members
    of the nation, and some that are binding
    upon all but with room for some to excel at
    a higher level than others. Some members
    will choose to focus more on some areas of

    Torah than other areas, and levels of com-
    mitment will, naturally, not be the same for

    everyone, as much as we should all be aspir-
    ing to excel. But when it comes to the foun-
    dation, we are all on the same page. We all

    share equally the same obligation to firmly

    believe in Hashem’s existence and provi-

    If, indeed, the “Mahasit Ha’shekel” dona-
    tion represents faith, we can perhaps under-
    stand why it required donating a half-coin,

    rather than a complete coin. A prerequisite
    of faith is acknowledging that we see only
    half the picture. We do not have access to

    the whole picture; we can never truly un-
    derstand why Hashem runs the world as

    He does, why misfortune befalls the righ-
    teous while the wicked prosper. Oftentimes

    Hashem’s decisions seem to us unfair, but
    this is because we see only half the picture,

    whereas He – and only He – sees the com-
    plete picture and has complete knowledge

    of what’s best for us and the world.
    Later in the Parasha, we read that Moshe
    Rabbenu asked Hashem to show him how
    he runs the world, the answer to the age-old
    question of why the righteous often suffer
    while the wicked prosper – “Har’eni Na Et
    Kebodecha” (“Show me, if You please, Your
    glory” – 33:18). Hashem answered Moshe
    that no man can access this knowledge. Even
    Moshe Rabbenu, whose level of prophecy
    far surpassed that of any other prophet, who
    spoke to Hashem “face to face,” in whatever

    sense that can happen, was not given the an-
    swer to this question. Indeed, even Moshe

    saw only part of the picture.

    This should be a great source of comfort
    for us when we encounter times of hardship

    and distress. All of us – even Moshe Rab-
    benu – are in the same “half-shekel” group.

    We are not supposed to have the answers to

    all the questions, and we will never under-
    stand why Hashem does what He does.

    The foundation of the Mishkan, of the
    Torah, is the acceptance of the inherent

    limitations of our understanding, and be-
    lieving that the full picture is known only

    Rabbi Eli Mansour to the Almighty.