Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text VII-A Limited Vision

Feb 15th, 2012 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week
“The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the Temple of God; it was paid to the workers, who used it to repair the temple. They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty (II Kings 12:13-15).”

It is interesting to note that the king who was protectively hidden in the Temple chose to focus his efforts on repairing the building and not the vessels. He was not focused on the service of God, which may be a hint to the disaster that would soon follow – See “Reading the Text V-The Seeds of Destruction.” When we consider Yoash’s lack of faithfulness to Yehoiada after his death, we can posit that Yoash believed that he need only be grateful to God and His Temple, and not to Yehoiada.

There is another hint to Yoash’s limited vision: “They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.” When we study the Mishnah’s description of the laws of Shekalim, we find an extraordinary insistence on avoiding any possibility of appearing guilty or dishonest:

THE KOHEN WHO MADE THE APPROPRIATION (of the Shekel) DID NOT ENTER THE CHAMBER WEARING EITHER A BORDERED (hemmed) CLOAK OR SHOES OR SANDALS OR TEFILLIN OR AN AMULET, LEST IF HE BECAME POOR PEOPLE MIGHT SAY THAT HE BECAME POOR BECAUSE OF AN INIQUITY COMMITTED IN THE CHAMBER (stealing by hiding coins inside one of these items), OR IF HE BECAME RICH PEOPLE MIGHT SAY THAT HE BECAME RICH FROM THE APPROPRIATION IN THE CHAMBER. FOR IT IS A MAN’S DUTY TO BE FREE OF BLAME BEFORE MEN AS BEFORE GOD, AS IT IS SAID: “AND BE GUILTLESS TOWARDS GOD AND TOWARDS ISRAEL (Numbers 32:22),” AND AGAIN IT SAYS: “SO SHALL YOU FIND FAVOR AND GOOD UNDERSTANDING IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND MAN (Proverbs 3:4).” (Shekalim, Chapter 3:2)

We would think that Yoash, fully aware of the distrust of the people in power (See, “Reading the Text III”), would be more sensitive to earning the masses’ trust, but he was not. We once again find the Seeds of Destruction in Yoash’s behavior even when all seemed well.

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