12 When you take a census of B’nei Yisrael according to their enrollment, each shall pay Hashem a ransom for himself on being enrolled, that no plague may come upon them through their being enrolled.
kee ti-SA et ROSH b’-nay yis-ra-AYL lif-ku-day-HEM v’-na-t’-NU EESH KO-fer naf-SHO la-do-NAI bif-KOD o-TAM v’-lo yih-YEH va-HEM NE-gef bif-KOD o-TAM
יב כִּי תִשָּׂא אֶת־רֹאשׁ בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְקֻדֵיהֶם וְנָתְנוּ אִישׁ כֹּפֶר נַפְשׁוֹ לַיהֹוָה בִּפְקֹד אֹתָם וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה בָהֶם נֶגֶף בִּפְקֹד אֹתָם׃
30:12 When you take a census of the B’nei Yisrael
Moshe is commanded to count the Nation of Israel. However, he is not to count individuals. Instead, each person being counted is to make a donation of half a shekel to the Mishkan, and the half shekel coins are to then be counted. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the symbolism of this method: Merely existing among others does not make one an integral part of a society. In order to be counted as part of the nation, each member has to give of themselves and contribute to the community.