A Chassidic Tale For Shabbat Shekalim
Wine or Water
There was once a king who was visiting a town. In preparation for the king’s visit the town decided to fill a giant barrel with wine and present it to the king upon his arrival. Where were they going to get so much wine to fill the giant barrel? They came up with a brilliant idea; each family of the town would bring one flask filled with wine and pour it into the giant barrel and this way the barrel would fill with wine.
They placed a Giant barrel in the center of the town with a ladder reaching to the top and every day people lined up to pour their flask of wine into the barrel.
The day finally arrived and the king visited the town. The people were so excited to present the king with this wonderful gift. The king was shown the barrel and was given a kingly goblet. They filled his goblet with wine from the giant barrel. The towns people were shocked by the look on the king’s face as he drank the wine, the king was obviously very unhappy. When asked why he was so unhappy he responded, “It’s just plain water”.
It turns out that each family thought to themselves why should I be the one to pour in a flask of wine I will pour in water instead, I am sure no one will notice if there is just one flask of water among all that wine. Everyone in the town made the same calculation and so no one poured in wine but rather water instead. Everyone was relying on someone else.
What is Shabbat Shekalim?
Please take a look http://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ritual/Shabbat_The_Sabbath/In_the_Community/Special_Shabbatot.shtml?p=2