SNIPPETS FROM PARASHAT KI-TISA
The Parasha begins with the laws of how to conduct a census. The Torah forbids us to be counted by means of a head-count. The census therefore required everyone to give a silver half-shekel. The obvious question is why the requirement of a half-shekel, why not simply obligate each person to contribute one shekel?
One answer is that it teaches us that a person, when on his own, cannot be considered whole. An individual, regardless of their abilities, is lacking in something. That something is “community.” Only when a person is part of their greater community can they be considered complete.