Author: Paul Lehr
Exodus 30:13-16 This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the Lord. The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the Lord to make atonement for yourselves. You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.”
For the first time in roughly 2,000 years, the Sanhedrin has issued the call for a Temple tax. The tax is per the law. If you are 20 years old or older, you owe one half shekel to God. It does not matter how much money you have. There is no sliding tax scale with God. The purpose for the money is maintenance for the Temple.
The Sanhedrin has revived the law or mitzvah for the half shekel levy (roughly $4). The cause is to rebuild the Temple.
Back in Temple days, this was not a problem. Every Hebrew man was required to make three trips to Jerusalem every year for the God Appointed Holidays. The men could come to Jerusalem and pay the tax in person, no problem. In our world today, a half shekel coin has been minted for the tax occasion for those in Israel.
Now in the 21st century, not every Jew lives in Israel. It is the duty of every Jew to pay the tax, even if one does not live in Israel. But in September 2016, the Sanhedrin issued a medallion as a substitute for half shekel tax. The Sanhedrin issued the medallion because of the completion of a 50 year Jubilee cycle. This was completed on Rosh Hashanah.
The most recent Jubilee year was proclaimed illegally. The Jubilee year is to be proclaimed on the Day of Atonement, one of God’s fall appointments. The Sanhedrin made the call in July 2016. The Gregorian month of July is not consistent with the seventh Hebrew month of Tishri.
Leviticus 25:10 Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land.
As an outside observer, there seemed to be some latitude taken by the Sanhedrin with the law and dates regarding the matter of the jubilee proclamation.
“The half shekel was a tax intended to be used for a specific purpose. As such, it was dynamic and not simply stored away. As the preparations for the Temple move forward, the need for that tax is reemerging. The medallion itself is not sanctified to the Temple, but any money raised by the medallion is sanctified and cannot be used for any other purpose.” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin.
And by the way, the Sanhedrin is looking to reinstitute three yearly road trips to Jerusalem on God’s Appointed Holidays per the Mosaic Law…
Exodus 23:14 “Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me…