This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon
First of all, my Dvar Torah to you is a small form of Sholoch Manos.
For there are those who hold (Manos haleivi), that once one has given the required Sholoch Manos, he may then give presents, such as clothing and even Divrei Torah as Shaloch Manos.
For the reason of giving Shaloch Manos is in order to bring friendship and happiness in "Am Yisroel".
So please read some of this on Purim...yet please
don't wait till Purim to read it all ;-).
"You shall make a head-plate of pure gold ,
and you shall engrave upon it, engraved like that of a signet
ring, "Holy to Hashem"."
"Tsitz" - Head-plate
This head-plate was placed upon the forehead of the Kohen Gadol, and it reached to his ears. There were holes in each end of the "Tsitz"(head plate), with silk threads inserted inside. These were tied behind the Kohen Gadol's neck, so that the plate stayed firmly upon his forehead.
On this gold plate was written "Kodesh L'Hashem",
Holy to Hashem.
According to the Midrash, the various types of clothing
which were worn by the Kohen Gadol, were worn in order to help
achieve forgiveness for various sins of Bnei Yisroel.
There are two main opinions in Chazal what this head-plate
Brazenness, Good or Bad?
The Ksav Sofer brings down that Chazal tell us that
the Tsitz was used to bring forgiveness for the sin of brazenness.
Rav A.J.Twerski explains that brazenness is a deep
character defect, for it prevents a person from admitting his
faults and leads to a repetition of ones mistakes
However, there are times that one is required to be brazen, when it is done "Lshem Shamayim"(For Hashem's Sake), for it says:
"Havei Az KaNeimeir...Laasos Retzon Avicha Sheh Ba Shamayim".(You should be bold like a leopard...to carry out the will of your Father in Heaven.) (Pirkei Avos 5:23)
Yet this boldness or brazenness is only to be used when it is "Kodesh L'Hashem", and not for personal matters.
Like when one is found amongst a corrupt environment and a bad society, one must be able to defy this corruption and stand up against it and not let it affect him.
However right in the next Mishna we are told that "The brazen goes to Gheinom!!
Comes the Ksav Sofer and explains that there is no contradiction.
One is to be brazen to help protect and watch over the Mitzvos, yet at times, during ones haste in his brazenness, one may end up being brazen also for other things, which is a sin. When one is brazen, he must make sure that he doesn't have any personal interest, and he is not trying to defend his ego.
As we see, one must have complete control over his character, and must constantly watch over his character.
The same we find by the turban that was worn on the Kohen Gadol's head, it was used to atone for arrogance and conceit. However there are times that one is supposed to feel these feelings of pride, such as when one is proud to do the will of Hashem.
One should be proud to do good deeds and one should
also be proud of his Torah values. Even if others mock him or
insult him, for he is doing it Lshem Shamayim, and this proud
ness will help motivate him to continue on the right path.(Rav
There are those that are of the opinion that the
Tsitz served to gain Heavenly favor for any blood or other sacrificial
parts that were offered on the Altar in a state of contamination.
In the merit of this head-plate, such offerings would be accepted
We may at first think that maybe these two opinions are in conflict.
Is it that Chazal say one thing in one place and another thing in another place?
The Ksav Sofer answers this question by saying both opinions are true and are even really one opinion.
One brings a sacrifice, to help attain forgiveness on a sin that one committed.
However, there are times that one may be actually doing a Mitzvah and yet at the same time, he is doing an Aveirah.
One may offer a Kodshim sacrifice, yet maybe this sacrifice was stolen or some other defect in the bringer or sacrifice.
This is what angers Hashem, this is the type of brazenness
that one is forbidden to have, and it contaminates the sacrificial
What does this have to do with Purim?
We all must be careful when doing a Mitzvah, especially such a Mitzvah as getting drunk on Purim till we don't know between Haman and Mordechai.
Yet we all must still be very careful that we don't harm others.
That we don't speak bad about other people in our drunken state.
For we can easily turn a Mitzvah into an Aveirah.
Let us all have the right intentions on this Purim,
and may we merit to celebrate Purim in the days of the Moshiach,
for all the holidays will cease then, except for Purim.
The Three Keys:
I would like to end off with a Dvar Torah from the Vilna Gaon,
as noted before, the Pasuk states, "Pituchei Chosom Kodesh L'Hashem".
There is a Gemarah (Taanis 2:a) that brings down that Hashem kept three keys in His Hands, and did not give them over to a messenger.
They are the keys of: birth, rain, and Techias HaMeisim(restoring life).
These three keys are hinted in our Pasuk.
For the Pasuk says "Pituchei Chosom":
"Chosom" contains the letters Cheis = Chaya(birth}, Tuf = Techiya(restoring life), Meim = Matar(rain).
Thus "The KEYS C(haya)T(echiya)M(Matar), are
kept with the Divine, and were not given over to a messenger."
Giving a Half a Shekel on Purim:
The Ramah (O.C. 694:1) brings down that one should give 1/2 of the present value of the value of his countries currency, in
memory of the Half a Shekel that was given in Adar.
Since the Pasuk writes the word Terumah three times in the Parsha,
we give 3 * 1/2 of the value of the currency.
In the time of the Beis Hamikdash, the Half a Shekel
was instituted as a yearly tax, this tax was placed even on the
Cohanim. The tax was paid during the month of Adar (1st-15th)
Even after the destruction of the Bayit, the tax
was still collected and was sent to Eretz Yisroel to support the
poor Torah Scholars. This Minhag applies till this day(and on).
The Ma Haril writes that the Half a Shekel is given on Erev Purim, before Mincha
The weight of 1/2 shekel in the times of the Chashmonaim
is around 110 (grain weight).
The Sefer Piskei Teshuvos brings down the following
One who wants to do the best way in giving the Half
a Shekel on Purim, he should give 3 coins that are half of the
local value and each one should contain the amount of 9.6gram
pure silver (the amount of the Tanach Half a Shekel's weight).(Kaf
If this is not available, one should then give 3
half coins of his currency, even if they do not contain silver.
If he doesn't have these half coins, he can give
any 3 coins, of the currency, and have in mind to give half the
currency for his requirement, and the rest for Charity.
One can also give together with a friend.
There are those that argue and say all one needs
to give is one coin.(Gra"H)
The most popular Minhag nowadays, is for the Gabbai
to prepare three Half a Dollars, that contain in them silver,
with the weight of at least 9.gr pure silver..
Each person comes and acquires it with his three
When he gives the Half a Dollar he should say "Zecher
Leh Machzit Ha Shekel".
According to the Biur Halacha, one should make sure that he has in mind that he is only borrowing the coins, and has in mind to give them back to allow others to be Mezakeh with them.
(Look in the Biur Halacha, why this is permitted.)
(After talking with a Coin Collecter, G.Zuckerman,
I found out that the weight of the Shekel in the time of the Tanach,
was about 14.4gr silver.
This means that 1gr=.17$
Thus 1 old Shekel =~ 2.45
Thus 3 * $1.25(half old Shekel) =~ $3.75
So we get around 15-16 Shekels equals the value of
Half a Shekel of the Tanach.)
The Mishnah Berurah brings down that the Minhag is
to give a Half a Shekel for every member of the family, even a
fetus in the mothers stomach. Once one gives for his little son,
the father is then required to give for his son every year (till
his son starts giving on his own).
(Adapted from Otzar Dinim Uh Minhagim, Sefer Piske
A Freilach Purim!
Kohen Gadol - High Priest
Tsitz - Head-plate