by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag,
For more from Rabbi Menacheim Leibtag see:
Just a short 'vort' on Parshat Shekalim (Shmot 30:11-16) which we
read for maftir this week.
Silver, was a different story. The only silver collected was from
the "machazit ha'shekel", where each member of the male population age 20 (and
up) gave a half a shekel (see 38:26). Since the census totalled 603,550 -> a total
silver came to 301,775 shekel. Since every 3,000 shekel is a "kikar", this
resulted with 100 "kikar" and a remainder of 1,775 shekel. What did they do with
this silver? Actually, it was quite simple. The primary use of the silver was to make
"adanim" [weighted base sockets] to support the "kerashim" [wooden
planks] of the Mishkan. Since there were a total of 48 "kerashim" which formed
the support walls of the Mishkan [20+20+8], and each "keresh" required TWO
"adanim", a total of 96 "adanim" were needed. Plus, four additional
"kerashim" were needed to support the "parochet", but each of these
"kerashim" stood on only one "eden", so a grand total of 100 [96+4]
"adanim" were needed to form the base support of the "kerashim" of the
Mishkan. Therefore, from this 100 "kikar" of silver they made
100"adanim", each one weighing 1 "kikar" (about 30 kilograms), and
thus forming a very solid base for the Mishkan. With the leftover 1775 shekels of silver,
they made clips to connect the curtains to the poles of the outer courtyard
["chatzer"], and a sliver plating for the heads of those poles as well.
Similarly, from the outside of the Mishkan, the silver coating on
the very top of each of the poles of the courtyard ["amudei ha'chatzer"] formed
a silver like crown surrounding the Mishkan. This too, was made from the 'equal from all'
donation of the silver of the "machazit ha'shekel". Therefore, the very base at
the bottom, as well as the shiny crown at the top, reflect the joint donation where each
member of Am Yisrael is equal. However, in between them, we find the "keilim"
made from the extra donations of gold and copper from private individuals. This may
reflect the proper balance between the need on the one hand for everyone to be equal and
work together at the very base level of Judiasm, yet at the same time allowing for each
individual to make his own personal contribution in any additional realm that he may
choose. Yet, all said and done, when one looks from the outside, the 'finishing touches'
[the silver crown surrounding the Mishkan] must still reflect the very same unity which
forms its base.