Give a Fiery Coin
By Rav Elimelech Biderman, shlita
From “Torah Wellsprings,” Parshas Mishpatim
In Parshas Mishpatim, Hashem shows Moshe how to explain to the Yidden how to give tzedakah.
"Hakadosh Baruch Hu took a coin of fire from under His throne, He showed it to Moshe and said, "This is what they should give," the Midrash Tanchuma (9) says.
"Why did Hashem show Moshe a מטבע של אש, a coin of fire, and not just a silver coin?” asked the Chidushei HaRim, zt”l.
“With the coin of fire, Hashem was not just showing Moshe the size and weight of the coin,” answered the Chidushei HaRim. “With the fire, Hashem was showing Moshe how Yidden should give the coin: with a fiery hislahavus: enthusiasm."
Hashem showed Moshe a fiery coin to teach him that, when performing mitzvos, it is the fire that Klal Yisroel feel that is so precious to Hashem. Enthusiasm for mitzvos, especially tzedakah, is so dear to Hashem that He keeps this fiery coin under His throne.
Hashem’s commandment to give a mere half-coin confused Moshe, who wondered how such an inexpensive and easy mitzvah could accomplish so much.
“How could such a small donation cause זקיפת ראש: the heads of the Jewish nation to be raised?” Moshe asked.
One explanation is that when Bnei Yisroel give tzedakah, they are raising their heads with wealth, pride, and relief because giving tzedakah can make tzaros disappear.
Another explanation is that by giving tzedakah, the members of Klal Yisroel raise their heads above their mundane pursuits of gashmiyos to instead involve themselves with Torah and mitzvos.
In Parshas Mishpatim, we read, מראה כבוד ה׳ כאש אוכלת בראש ההר, which depicts the glory of God like fire eating at the top of the mountain.
The Kedushas Levi explains that the fire burning at the top of the mountain symbolizes Hashem’s pleasure when Yidden learn Torah and do mitzvos.
"Yidden who serve Hashem bring pleasure to Him,” the Kedushas Levi explains.
How can Jews know whether they are bringing pleasure to Hashem?
The pasuk, ומראה כבוד ה׳ tells us that Yidden who wonder whether they see Hashem's glory and make Hashem is happy with their service should consider the temperature of their hearts.
The question we should ask ourselves is, כאש אוכלת: are our hearts burning to Hashem?
A heart that burns with passion for Hashem is a clear sign that Hashem enjoys a Yid’s service. Hashem not only sheps nachas and assists Jews who burn with enthusiasm, but He sends to their minds holy thoughts to enable Yidden to continue to serve Him with hislahavus.