Census Tax


Dear rabbi I was at temple beth Emet in the city of Anaheim, California, attending the shabbat services today. It is a synagogue (please excuse the greek) of conservative judaism. I was there since I can not find any kenesset nearby me. Rabbi Mordecai Schaffer gave his sermon from a prepared sermon outline of Rabbi Michael Gold from congregation beth Torah, Tamarac, Florida. Which I assume was downloaded from www.uscj.org This sermon was based on Exodus 30:11-16 and it concerns ransom money. At least this is the subheading in the “new king james bible version”. (I am sorry but I do can not read hebrew and so I must use english translations.) How-ever, the theme of Rabbi Mordecai Schaffer was about a “yearly census and a yearly accompanying poll tax of half a silver shekel upon the sons of Isral which was he said used in the up keep of the tabernacle and temples. I was struck by this because it says that he who did not pay this census attonement offering would encore the plague of God. And I am wondering what was or is supposed to be the needed atonement (at one with) or korban (drawing close to) and why. What was the cause of separation from God that would justify killing us by plague if we did not pay it. Rabbi Mordecai Schaffer justified this teaching of a yearly census and poll tax based on 2nd Kings ch. 12: verses 1-17 which tells us of King Jehoash’s restoration of proper worship service in Isral and it’s temple. And that he took each man’s census assessment money dedicated as gifts into the house of EE AE OH AH, He_Judging_She of spirits, the Great_He_Judgings of Isral. That even-though in Leviticus Chapter 27 verse 3 it tells us that a man’s assessment value between the ages of 20 and 60 years old is 50 shekels of silver but 5 silver shekels if younger than 5 years old, and 20 shekels if he is 5 years old but younger that 20 years old and 15 silver shekels if 60 years or older. Further more verse 8 tells us that if he is too poor to pay this assessment then he shall pay according to his ability. Different from this man’s assessment tax is that in the above mentioned census attonement offering tax in which all men where taxed who were 20 year old and older, not only those who were between 20 and 60 years of age. This could not have been one and the same tax since this was not an assessment tax but an atonement or korban offering tax as a ramson. Rabbi Mordecai Schaffer said that this is a mandatory yearly ramson tax for the up keep of the temple in addition to all other taxes such as the first and best tenth of our income or increase or fruitfulness which is also used for the up-keep of the temple. And this despite the fact that when Mosa told the sons of Isral to bring offerings for the making of The Tabernacle that their offerings should be Free-will-offerings. Furthermore, this even though parents must pay a ramson for their first born children. Which puzzles me. Why should anyone ramson some thing or some one who was already ransomed, whose ransom has already been ramsoned once? What, must we be ramsoned every year, for-ever, first-born and all? And what? The making of the tabernacle is by free will offerings but keeping or up-keeping of it is by mandatory offerings! Even-though there already were other offerings for the up-keeping of the tabernacle namely the first tenth offering which was given to the priests of the priest, the Levities, who in turn gave a tenth to the high priest and the temple, etc., etc. Yes people could argue that the first tenth offering is not really about the up keeping of the tabernacle. Rather, it is about ownership. God owns us and hence tells us that we must give him the first tenth of our fruitfulness! But fact is that there was already a mandatory yearly first tenth offering for the up-keeping of the Tabernacle. So why should there be yet another mandatory yearly census ransom atonement offering for the up-keeping of the tabernacle? Here is a question which I think has relevance as to



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