Friday, June 22, 2012

The Power of Community

The Avnei Nezer explains the atonement of the mitzvah of shekalim, “The atonement of shekalim is not for sins per se. Shekalim atones for a person’s tendency to separate himself from his fellow Jews. Through giving shekalim he unifies himself with the community of the Jewish people.” Rav Nosson of Breslov, zt”l, explains why shekalim serve to unify every Jew with the community. “We give specifically half-shekels to teach an important lesson: that without the community we are nothing. Since every individual has a mission to fulfill which no one else can achieve, it is easy to feel uniquely different. We must never feel separated form our friends since, at the root, all Jews are one. “To teach that we all need each other, each person gives half a shekel—which is only completed through another Jew’s half shekel. This shows that we are only complete when we are unified with our friend. This brings to great feelings of brotherhood and nullifies our natural tendency towards feeling uniquely alone.”

No comments: