29 Adar Alef: Shabbat Shekalim

"This they shall give, everyone who goes through the counting: half a shekel according to the holy shekel..." (Shemot, 30:13)

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Shabbat Shekalim is named for the maftir reading, taken from the Torah portion “Ki Tisa” (the Book of Shmot, 30:11-16). The maftir describes a census requiring every Israelite man to contribute half of a shekel to support communal sacrifices in the Mishkan (and later at the Beit ha-Mikdash).

This they shall give, everyone who goes through the counting: half a shekel according to the holy shekel. Twenty gerahs equal one shekel; half of [such] a shekel shall be an offering to HaShem. Everyone who goes through the counting, from the age of twenty and upward, shall give an offering to Hashem. The rich shall give no more, and the poor shall give no less than half a shekel, with which to give the offering to HaShem, to atone for your souls. (Shemot, 30:13)

Shabbat Shekalim takes place on the Shabbat prior to Rosh Chodesh of Adar or on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Adar itself. This year, being a leap year , when there are two months of Adar, Shabbat Shkalim falls on the 29th of Adar Alef.

“Parshat Shekalim” is the first of four special readings added during (or immediately before) the month of Adar. The other three are:

  • Parashat “Zachor”
  • Parashat “Parah”
  • Parashat “Hachodesh”.

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