The next few weeks are special in regard to what is read in the synagogue. Although the normal weekly Torah portions continue to be read, the Maftir is altered to reflect the special time of year that we are entering. The Maftir is an extra reading from the Torah that is read immediately before the selection from the Prophets is read. Normally the Maftir is the last few verses of the regular Torah portion which is simply read again. The reason for this repetition is to emphasize that there is a connection between what was read from the Torah and what will be read in the Prophets. At different times of the year the regular Maftir is switched to a reading that reflects the uniqueness of a day, i.e. holiday or season. The next few weeks, because of Purim and the month of Nisan (Aviv—the month of Passover), we change the Maftir in order to remind the congregation of the special aspects of this season. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Sh’kalim, plural for word shekel (a coin).
The Maftir for this Shabbat is from the book of Exodus 30:11-16. Not only is the Maftir switched, but also the reading from the Prophets. Both of these readings remind us of our responsibility to support financially the work at the house of G-d. The Haftarah (the weekly prophetical reading) is taken from the Second Kings chapters 11 and 12. This portion was selected to remind us that because we are in a covenantal relationship with HaShem we have responsibilities to Him. Oftentimes we neglect these responsibilities. I have heard people say things which are not appropriate or which are offensive to G-d and have stood by silently not wanting to embarrass those who have said these things. I have put individuals before G-d. Such behavior is not pleasing to HaShem. Each person needs to take a stand for Him and be willing to say what needs to be said. This is exactly what the people did in II Kings 11:18 when they rose up and tore down the temple of baal smashing his altars and images. Those who were consumed with zeal for Living G-d even killed Mattan the priest of baal. Notice in the next verse that the Priest of G-d appointed guards for the true Temple of G-d in Jerusalem. II Kings 11:20 tells us that the people rejoiced when they put the wicked Queen Athallah to death.
It is important that after the people responded properly that HaShem sent a righteous king to Judah—Yehoash. Not only did king Yehoash rule the people with integrity, but he also brought renewal to the priests and repairs to the Temple. It is important to note that at first king Yehoash did not follow G-d’s plan for supporting the work at the Temple and his plan failed. Therefore Yehoash turned to Yehoyadah the Priest for counsel. Yehoyadah reinstated G-d’s plan for giving that this week’s Maftir commands. The results were that the work the king intended was completed.
This Shabbat is the second day Rosh Chodesh Second Adar. In two weeks we celebrate the victory of Purim. Why not read the book of Esther and spiritually prepare yourself for this festival day. Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh tov.
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