Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
This week’s parsha, Ki Sisa, starts off with the passuk, “Ki Sisa Es Rosh Bnei Yisroel – When you lift up the heads of Klal Yisroel and count them.” Why is this terminology used? Why not just say count them? The meaning becomes clearer if we try to understand what Chazal tells us. The reason that Klal Yisroel is being counted and each one of them is giving the machatzis shekel is that it served as a kaparah for the sin of the golden calf, an atonement for each one of them. Thus, the next question arises – so how was this act an atonement?
To help explain this idea, I share this beautiful thought. What was the root of the sin of the golden calf? Bnei Yisroel thought Moshe wasn’t coming down from Har Sinai, got nervous, and didn’t think it was possible for them to continue without him. Hence, they made the golden calf as an intermediary to help them because they thought they could not connect to Hashem directly. However, the truth is they made a big mistake because Hashem gives everyone, every individual, the power and the ability to believe in himself/herself to be able to connect with Him directly.
This idea is exactly what the passuk is revealing. “Ki Sisa es rosh Bnei Yisroel – When you lift up the heads of Klal Yisroel and count them.” Hashem gives everyone a precious neshama, a precious soul, and the ability to recognize Him and to serve him properly which means to serve him directly without anything or anybody in between. This is the message we must share with our children. All of us can talk to Hashem, daven to Hashem, do His mitzvos. We can connect everyday with Hashem if we just lift up our heads and believe in ourselves and do not think that we are too little or insignificant to connect with Him.