by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger
A message we learned from Rabbi Miler zatzal on Ki Sisa: “Ki Sisa es roish bnei ysiroel lifkudeihem — When you elevate, lift up, the heads of the Bnai Yisroel by counting them, “vunosnu ish koifer nafshoi lashem — Each man should give his redemption for Hashem.”
Ki Sisa means when you “elevate, lift up.” Rav Miller had explained it was lifting up each individual person by giving some atonement, a koifer nefesh, some money.
Each person should give a machatzis hashekel. By giving some money, “machatzis hashekel bushekel hakodesh trumoh lashem” the possuk goes on to say, by giving away some of a person’s money, that’s taking a part of his materialistic part of life, and giving that, donating it to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. That’s how we become counted in.
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"All of your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven.” — That’s how we become elevated
It’s a little bit of a pidyon, a redemption. It shows we’re becoming part of avodas (service of) Hashem, channelling our desires, our interests, our feelings to His service.
The Kli Yakar points out that by counting each person gets an individual label, a name, his greatness, he becomes choshuv (important). But we have to know that we shouldn’t become proud in a gaavah way, an arrogant way; we shouldn’t become materialistic. We have to channel it, we have to realise that it’s all lashem, it’s all for Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
“Im ein kemach ein torah -- If we don’t have food, we cannot learn Torah.” When we eat food and make a bracha, we have to connect with Hakodosh Boruch Hu, we have to elevate, we have to focus, we have to dedicate every aspect of our lives for Him; “kol maasecha yiheyu lusheim shomayim -- All of your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven.” That’s how we become elevated.
We become connected, elevated, dedicated, devoted to serving Hashem and elevating everything in our lives, “ki sisoh” when we lift up “es roish bnei yisroel” our heads through our avodas Hashem, by dedicating our machatzis hashekel to be a trumoh lashem.