The Halacha states that a Sefer Torah isn’t valid if it has missing words, or even letters. Then how come each Shabbat after reading the Torah parsha can we read a “halftorah”?

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2 Answers 2


The Maharal explains that the reason Hashem showed Moshe a half a shekel of fire is because humanly it is impossible to achieve an exact half.

It would appear that the peshat in the Maharal is that exact halves tend to combine, since a whole is a natural state. Therefore an exact half is in a ruchniyosdikly reactive state, since it will seek to combine with another exact half to form a whole.

Similarly, we know that if the Jewish people would observe two Shabassos then Mashiach would come. In other words both Shabassos would combine into a whole, which is me'eyn olam habah.

Therefore each Shabbos after leining we daven that this week's Torah should be considered only half a Torah, which will combine in a fiery manner with our next week's Half Torah, and thus bring mashiach.

  • Yeah, but not all the halftotahs are the same length!! How do they combine into one whole then?! Do we have to wait an entire year for each one to combine with itself?!
    – user34750
    Mar 11 at 11:05
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    @hayam I am bigger than my wife, but somehow she is my other half. Hashem's calculations are vast
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 11 at 13:56
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    @hayam The tzurah of each Half Torah is equivalent. The length of the Half Torah changes because a different number of pesukim are required to express the tzurah of the Half Torah according to the influence of that week's parshah.
    – The GRAPKE
    Mar 11 at 14:16
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    @RabbiKaii, who says your other half in life is a proper קל וחומר for this case?
    – user34750
    Mar 11 at 22:15

The custom to recite Half-Dollar [הבדלה] on Motze Shabbos is in fact based on your very question. On Shabbos everything is anyways half, due to all activities being divided between the soul and the Neshama Yeseirah - so effectively, wholeness has no meaning on Shabbos.

To symbolize this, we perform the Half-Dollar ritual - which, like @theGrapke answered above, it a message from Machatzis Hashekel about halfs becoming whole. This is the reason why Zionists changed the tradition 'Good Shabbos' greeting to 'Shabbat Shalom', hereby blessing that the halves should soon become whole (שלם) once again.

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