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Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5758
45th day of the Omer

Reading Mishna Shekalim

For the second time this year, the Trumat HaLishka ceremony was performed in Jerusalem. Locked in a safe, on the second floor of the Offices of the Chief Rabbinate of the State of Israel, rests the procceeds of the Trumat HaLishka ceremony performed today, Rosh Chodesh Sivan.

In the presence of Levites and Kohanim (descendants of the Priestly family) at precisely 1 pm, Tuesday, May 26th, 1998, Rosh Chodesh Sivan, 5758, chapter 3 of Mishnah Shekalim was read aloud in several languages, to the accompaniment of Davidic Harp and flute players.

The Brinks Team

At 1:30 pm, a Brinks armored truck arrived, and a team Brinks guards, Kohanim, proceeded to the golden chest for New Shekels.

The call went out for the Levite who bears the key to the chest to come foward, and she removed the lock from the chest.

Removing the Holy-Half Shekels

The call went out for the Custodian of Hekdesh to come foward. He asked all assembled: Etrom? (Shall I seperate [the Shekels]?) The crowd responded with great enthusiasm: Trom! Trom! Trom! (Seperate! three times). While the shofar was sounded, the Custodian of Hekdesh removed the Half-Shekels (donated since Rosh Chodesh Nisan) into a special wicker basket, and from there, into a steel strongbox that was locked with a key (of which two copies were made).

Loading the Brinks Truck

The senior Kohen amongst the Brinks guards received the locked box containing the Hekdesh and proceeded to the armored truck under guard with Uzis and pistols. On the way to the armored truck we encountered a group of about 150 Givati soldiers (elite commmando unit) sitting across our path, receiving a history lesson on the neighborhood. As we rounded the path and came upon the soldiers I shouted "Make way for Hekdesh on its way to the Chief Rabbinate carried by the Kohanim of Brinks!" A cheer arose from the entire group as the Kohanim passed through the crowd. It was unbelievable. I mean really unbelievable.

Paperwork with Brinks

When we arrived at the armored truck, the guards were given two envelopes each containing a key and a letter, personally addressed to the each of the Chief Rabbis, and were instructed to deliver these to the secretaries of the Chief Rabbis once the Hekdesh was already in the safe. Everything went smoothly and we received a confirmation call from Brinks at 2:15 pm that the Hekdesh was in the safe, that the keys were delivered, and that the previous box of Hekdesh was still present in the safe (we asked them to peek). Mission accomplished.

Next Trumat HaLishka ceremony will be performed Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5758 (tentatively pushed up to September 17 because the Chief Rabbinate will be closed on Sunday the 20th).

A few funny things happened on the way to the Temple . . . .

Two days after the first delivery of the Hekdesh and keys to the Chief Rabbinate (30/3/98) we received a registered envelope from the Chief Rabbinate and opened it to find one of the keys returned. No letter, no identification, just the key, wrapped in a crumpled, torn piece of envelope (obviously taken from the trash) sent to us anonymously. As we hadn't anticipated such cowardice, we didn't make any distinguishing marks on the key chains, they were both identical. So we don't know who sent back the key. We held our breath to see if the lockbox full of Hekdesh would follow. Thank G-d it didn't. This time we put an identifying mark on the key chains, so if it should happen again, we'll know who's an unhappy camper.

The lockbox for the second Trumat HaLishka

Following the first Trumat HaLishka ceremony, a series of large ads appeared worldwide announcing what had taken place. (Thank you again to the donors of the ads). I had expected that there would be fireworks when the ads hit. And there was, sort of. The day the ads first appeared I went to the P.O. Box and amongst the orders and mail was an envelope from an Israeli company. [footnote: Because of our Biblical weddings and anniversaries, someone listed us under "event planners" in their directory, and we've been receiving all kinds of trade brochures.] I opened the envelope and took out a catalogue of fireworks. I almost hit the floor laughing. In fact I laughed all the way home. I got my fireworks! Heaven has got the funniest sense of humor in this world or the next!

The lesson was not lost on me. We are so accustomed to expect fireworks on that "Great and Awesome Day" when the great magician waves a magic wand and the Temple floats down out of the sky fully built, and everyone will all of a sudden have Techelet in their Tzitzith and everything will be rectified with a WHOOSH and a ZAP and WAMMO. Not.

What the first Trumat HaLishka ceremony taught us was the true nature and pace of Redemption. The first Trumat HaLishka was followed by a second, and that will be followed by a third. Its almost boring. In fact if you read the previous Update, and then read today's, you'll find it repetitive, almost boring.

Herzl, when he published Der Jundenstaat (The Jewish State), expected fireworks. Everyone just ignored it. The resistance to Redemption, however, is passive. No one will match us hour for hour to prevent any of this from taking place. Those who cherish their Exile, will simply not participate, and "wait for it to fall from the sky". They'll catch on eventually.

We have been replacing the white Tzitzith of Exile with the Techelet of Redemption for over 15 years now. And we have bearly made a scratch. Having personally tied thousands of sets of Tzitzith, I have learned what is involved in getting everyone back into the blue. And its not going happen by itself. It will take tens of thousands of hours of tying to get there. Likewise every other aspect of preparing the way for the Complete and Final Redemption. When every one of us is doing it, it will be done. No magic. No fireworks. Okay, maybe fireworks.

Let's go! Get those Half-Shekels in!

Good Purim! Great Purim!

For details of any correspondence mentioned in the updates, please see the relevant correspondence on the archive page.