It could be so heavy at times. Schlepping around the burden of life, complicated by experiences of early childhood, further complicated by genetic make up.  It seems like there is no escape.

The answer… The half shekel.

The Torah tells us that we bring a half shekel, which a total shekel is 20 gayrah (an ancient measure of coin).  Why the need to tell us what a whole shekel is if we are only obligated to bring a half shekel?

The Alter Rebbe, first Chabad Rebbe, says that the secret to unloading your load is contained in these words.

There are two half shekels; the one we bring and the one that is given to us.  The one that is given to us comes from above and is a gift.  It is the inspiration from Above that comes to each of us, whether we are in touch with it or not.  
For most of us, although that above-to-below experience ends up in our souls consciousness it doesn’t necessarily end up in our body’s consciousness.

However, the other half shekel is the one that we are called upon to bring.  That is the half shekel of our souls ten powers.  

The ten soul powers are the intellectual and emotional make up of each of us.  These ten soul powers are unique to each individual’s experience.  The genetics, upbringing and influences.  Bringing that half shekel is all that is asked of us. 

Our half shekel may be complex and complicated and even burdensome at times, but that is our contribution.  We aren’t asked to bring anyone else’s half shekel, just the one that is unique to our life’s journey.

The Alter Rebbe adds that if we embrace this with clarity, we can also bring the half shekel with Joy.  Joy allows for us to truly lighten up and lighten the load.

Have a lighter Shabbos with a lighter load.

Rabbi Mendel Schusterman

Thanks to my brother, Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, of Chabad Intown, Atlanta, for sharing the above thought.