This week we will recount the dramatic story about the aftermath of the golden calf saga and the process of conciliation and forgiveness. “Zeh Yitenu” (“this they shall give”) says the Torah as it prescribes how each Jewish male had to give a half shekel coin as a donation to G-d.
Yet it doesn’t seem right. A half coin! Really? Is that all it takes to attain forgiveness for the hefty sin of rebellion and infidelity?
The commentators point out that the words “zeh yitznu” (“this they shall give”) indicate that Hashem told Moshe exactly how they should give their coin through showing Moshe the coin in a vision of fire. It wasn’t the coin per se that would attain forgiveness rather the way in which it would be given. If it was given out of fire, out of deep passion and rich emotion, than it would achieve forgiveness. The fire of their broken hearts would cleanse their slates and allow them to begin their relationship afresh.
Every episode that the Torah relates can teach us a lesson. It is important for us to understand that no matter how far we have strayed from our conscience, from truth, we can always make amends. If only we will it and actively seek it, we shall find it.
Wishing you and your families Shabbat shalom!
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman