This week’s Parsha is Parshat Ki Tisa. Its title refers to the census that Hashem commands Moshe to count.
“כִּ֣י תִשָּׂ֞א אֶת־רֹ֥אשׁ בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל”
“When you take a census of Bnei Yisrael…”
These words were spoken by Hashem to Moshe, explaining what He would like him to do to count the Jews. He continues to elaborate and emphasize that men over the age of twenty should give about ½ a shekel in order to take the census.
Rashi comments on the words כי תשא, adding an interpretation of the title. He begins by mentioning that it can be defined literally, as “when you took (the sum)”. He continues by emphasizing that it is actually the same meaning as the word “תקבל”, which means to obtain.
Rashi notes that to obtain the total number of men, the census must be taken by ½ a shekel, not by a poll. The title of the Parsha does not only foreshadow its material but also has a deeper meaning that gives reasoning for Hashem’s actions.
As Rashi stated and Hashem declared, a ½ a shekel was given to Moshe by all men over the age of twenty. This was necessary for the census, but there is a pasuk within Hashem’s instructions that demonstrates its importance to Jewish unity: “הֶֽעָשִׁ֣יר לֹֽא־יַרְבֶּ֗ה וְהַדַּל֙ לֹ֣א יַמְעִ֔יט מִֽמַּחֲצִ֖ית הַשָּׁ֑קֶל”, meaning “the rich should not pay more and the poor should not pay less than ½ a shekel”.
Hashem wanted everyone to give an equal amount; He did not make an exception for the poor or for the rich. He acknowledges that it is necessary for all to provide the same amount. This demonstrates the unity of the people.
Although some could pay more and others may have struggled to spare the money, Hashem wanted to represent the equality of the people in His eyes, regardless of their financial state. Hashem counted each person the same: rich or poor. He wanted to show the people that they were all equal in His eyes, and He wants us to carry on this lesson. Just like Hashem always views us equally, we should always do our best to view others as equals, no matter the conditions.
By: Riley Spitz (9th Grade)