Yehoyada Invents the PushkaBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Yoash – also known as Yehoash – became king of Judah at the age of seven. He was a righteous king, but he did not remove the private altars.
When Yehoash saw the Temple in a state of disrepair, he decided that it was time to fix things up. He instructed the Kohanim (“priests”) to solicit donations and to use them to repair the Temple. Many years passed and the work still was not done. (The Kohanim were not motivated to act as fundraisers.) Yehoash therefore hit upon a new plan. Yehoyada the Kohein Gadol (High Priest) took a chest and drilled a hole in the top, effectively inventing the pushka. The donation box was placed next to the altar. When it was full, the money would be counted out and given to the workmen, who would buy lumber and stones. In this way, the repairs of the Temple were finally carried out.
Chazael, king of Aram, conquered Gath and then set his eye on Jerusalem. Yehoash took all the treasures of the Temple and his palace and sent them to Chazael as a pay-off not to invade. Yehoash then fled Jerusalem.
His own men rebelled against him and murdered him. Yehoash reigned for forty years and was succeeded by his son, Amatzyah.
(It is not recounted here, but in Divrei HaYamim – II Chronicles chapter 24 – Yehoash’s spiritual decline is discussed. Although he started out righteous, after the death of Yehoyada, he allowed himself to be worshipped and he ordered the death of the prophet Zechariah, who chastised the people. We will IY”H discuss these events in greater detail when we reach Divrei HaYamim.)