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Shekalim

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On four Shabbatot beginning in Adar, additional Torah readings (the “Four Parashiyot”) are read after the weekly Parashah, reflecting seasonal themes relating to Purim and Passover. Their associated Haftarot also relate to these themes . The first of the Four Parashiyot, Shekalim (Ex. 30:11-16), details a required annual payment to support the Temple. The Mishnah in Shekalim rules that the duty to make this payment is announced on Rosh Chodesh Adar, which this year coincides with this Shabbat. Similarly, the Haftarah deals with the Temple’s monetary needs.

2 Kings 11:17-11:20 ; 12:1-12:17

The power and meaning of the Haftarah’s simple storyline stem from the dramatic, revolutionary events which precede it. God sent the prophet Elisha to anoint a man, Yehu, to overthrow and replace the idolatrous, murderous royal house of Ahab in the Northern Kingdom. During the resulting bloody upheaval, Yehu also put to death evil King Ahaziah of Judah, an ally of Ahab’s house, and many of Ahaziah’s male relatives. In response to Ahaziah’s murder, his evil mother and idolatrous daughter of Ahab, Athaliah, slew all remaining heirs to her son’s Davidic throne and assumed Judah’s royal powers for herself and Ahab’s house.

Amidst Athaliah’s slaughter, Ahaziah’s sister, Jehosheba, saved her brother, newborn Jehoash - the sole surviving heir to the Davidic dynasty. She hid him in the Temple, raising him there with her husband, High Priest Jehoiadah, for six years. When Yehoash was seven years old, Jehoiadah led a dramatic coup in the Temple against Athaliah, had her put to death in the royal palace, and dramatically crowned the young prince as king amidst great rejoicing.

After standing for 150 years since Solomon built it, including decades of neglect and abuse by idolatrous Athaliah, Ahaziah, and others, the Temple lay in disrepair. The Haftarah picks up the story at this point:

Haftarah Breakdown

Verses 11:17-18: Jehoiadah leads the people in rededicating themselves to God and eliminating idolatry from Judah, and appoints officers for the Temple.

II Kings 11:17

Jehoiada made the covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people; and also between the king and the people. וַיִּכְרֹ֨ת יְהוֹיָדָ֜ע אֶֽת־הַבְּרִ֗ית בֵּ֤ין ה' וּבֵ֤ין הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָעָ֔ם לִהְי֥וֹת לְעָ֖ם לַֽה' וּבֵ֥ין הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וּבֵ֥ין הָעָֽם׃

Verses 11:19-20: Amidst great celebration, King Jehoash assumes the throne in the royal palace.

II Kings 11:19

[Jehoiadah] took the rulers over hundreds, and the Kari , and the runners, and all the people of the land; they brought down the king from the house of the Lord and came by the way of the gate of the runners to the king’s house. [Jehoash] sat on the throne of the kings.

וַיִּקַּ֣ח אֶת־שָׂרֵ֣י הַ֠מֵּאוֹת וְאֶת־הַכָּרִ֨י וְאֶת־הָרָצִ֜ים וְאֵ֣ת ׀ כָּל־עַ֣ם הָאָ֗רֶץ וַיֹּרִ֤ידוּ אֶת־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ מִבֵּ֣ית ה' וַיָּב֛וֹאוּ דֶּֽרֶך־שַׁ֥עַר הָרָצִ֖ים בֵּ֣ית הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־כִּסֵּ֥א הַמְּלָכִֽים׃

Verses 12:1-4: An overview of Jehoash’s reign of forty years.

II Kings 12:3

Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days as Jehoiadah the priest instructed him.

 וַיַּ֨עַשׂ יְהוֹאָ֧שׁ הַיָּשָׁ֛ר בְּעֵינֵ֥י ה' כָּל־יָמָ֑יו אֲשֶׁ֣ר הוֹרָ֔הוּ יְהוֹיָדָ֖ע הַכֹּהֵֽן׃

Verses 12:5-6: Jehoash commands the priests to collect money from their acquaintances to restore the Temple.

II Kings 12:6

Let the priests - every man from his acquaintance - take [money], and repair the breaches of the house, wherever any breach shall be found.

יִקְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים אִ֖ישׁ מֵאֵ֣ת מַכָּר֑וֹ וְהֵ֗ם יְחַזְּקוּ֙ אֶת־בֶּ֣דֶק הַבַּ֔יִת לְכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־יִמָּצֵ֥א שָׁ֖ם בָּֽדֶק׃ (פ)

Verses 12:7-9: Decades later, the Temple remained unrepaired. Jehoash terminates the priestly collections.

II Kings 12:8

King Jehoash called for Jehoiadah the priest, and the priests. He said to them, “Why do you not repair the breaches of the house? Now take no more money from your acquaintances, but give [what you nonetheless receive] to [repair] breaches of the house.”

וַיִּקְרָא֩ הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ יְהוֹאָ֜שׁ לִיהוֹיָדָ֤ע הַכֹּהֵן֙ וְלַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם מַדּ֛וּעַ אֵינְכֶ֥ם מְחַזְּקִ֖ים אֶת־בֶּ֣דֶק הַבָּ֑יִת וְעַתָּ֗ה אַל־תִּקְחוּ־כֶ֙סֶף֙ מֵאֵ֣ת מַכָּֽרֵיכֶ֔ם כִּֽי־לְבֶ֥דֶק הַבַּ֖יִת תִּתְּנֻֽהוּ׃

Verses 10-11: Jehoiadah collects sufficient money to repair the Temple from its visitors.

II Kings 12:10

Jehoiadah the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the Lord’s house. The priests who guarded the door put in it all the money brought to the Lord’s house.

וַיִּקַּ֞ח יְהוֹיָדָ֤ע הַכֹּהֵן֙ אֲר֣וֹן אֶחָ֔ד וַיִּקֹּ֥ב חֹ֖ר בְּדַלְתּ֑וֹ וַיִּתֵּ֣ן אֹתוֹ֩ אֵ֨צֶל הַמִּזְבֵּ֜חַ בימין [מִיָּמִ֗ין] בְּבֽוֹא־אִישׁ֙ בֵּ֣ית ה' וְנָֽתְנוּ־שָׁ֤מָּה הַכֹּֽהֲנִים֙ שֹׁמְרֵ֣י הַסַּ֔ף אֶת־כָּל־הַכֶּ֖סֶף הַמּוּבָ֥א בֵית־ה'׃

Verses 12:12-17: The money is utilized to repair the Temple

II Kings 12:12

They gave the money that was counted into the hands to those who did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord. They disbursed it to the carpenters and builders who worked upon the house of the Lord.

With emendations, all translations are from Sefaria.org. To dedicate, comment, or subscribe, email zbeer570@gmail.com.