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Ki Tisa in a Nutshell

Ki Tisa in a Nutshell

Exodus 30:11–34:35


The people of Israel are told to each contribute exactly half a shekel of silver to the Sanctuary. Instructions are also given regarding the making of the Sanctuary’s water basin, anointing oil and incense. “Wise-hearted” artisans Betzalel and Aholiav are placed in charge of the Sanctuary’s construction, and the people are once again commanded to keep the Shabbat.

When Moses does not return when expected from Mount Sinai, the people make a golden calf and worship it. G‑d proposes to destroy the errant nation, but Moses intercedes on their behalf. Moses descends from the mountain carrying the tablets of the testimony engraved with the Ten Commandments; seeing the people dancing about their idol, he breaks the tablets, destroys the golden calf, and has the primary culprits put to death. He then returns to G‑d to say: “If You do not forgive them, blot me out from the book that You have written.”

G‑d forgives, but says that the effect of their sin will be felt for many generations. At first G‑d proposes to send His angel along with them, but Moses insists that G‑d Himself accompany His people to the promised land.

Moses prepares a new set of tablets and once more ascends the mountain, where G‑d reinscribes the covenant on these second tablets. On the mountain, Moses is also granted a vision of the divine thirteen attributes of mercy. So radiant is Moses’ face upon his return, that he must cover it with a veil, which he removes only to speak with G‑d and to teach His laws to the people.

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Simcha Bart LOS ANGELES February 28, 2016

The Golden Calf occurred approximately 3 months after the Exodus, 40 days after receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai, in the year 2448 since Creation - 1313 BCE - see this link for more about this. Reply

Lawrence Iowa February 27, 2016

Calf Worship Chronology What day does your chronology say?

I believe it was Egyptian New Years Thoth 1, 1461 BCE. Star Sirius rose. Seems logical. Reply

Ralph Moran Arizona March 6, 2015

Thanks for all the comments I understand better now. HaShem bless each of you and especially for airing this. Reply

Yaakov Palo Alto, CA February 23, 2014

re:Annonymous 2/21/14 -- Know that G-D did not tell Moses to kill by the sword! G-D, Told Moses to look the other way and I will let my anger flare at this stiff neck people, . . . Exodus 32:26 ' 'Whoso is on the LORD'S side, let him come unto me.' Moses gave them a choice, those choosing to not come were against G-D, those are put to the sword. Better 3 thousand than all 1.8 million(Approx.). You should also understand that more died from the plague when G-D does not accept Moses' 'Remove my name'. G-D always knows what you ARE, no matter what you say --it is what you DO that makes the difference.

Please read the text carefully. No translation is perfect. Even Hebrew scholars of biblical Hebrew mis-translate and do not understand. You should look for those phrases that do not make sense, asking why is this here? What can I learn from this? Is this law or event written again in the Five Books of Moses?

Seek and you will find. Let others lead you as a sheep, the consequences are still yours. Reply

Anonymous February 21, 2014

Eliezer - one more question please Thanks for your kindness is responding. If Moses had stood up to the command to kill the people who worshipped the golden calf, like he stood up for those the others, would Hashem have changed his mind then and be able to save the approximate 3000? The Levites did as ordered and were honored for this. Was what the Levites did really that honorable compared to what Moses did when he finally stood up against further killing? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for February 20, 2014

To Anonymous in SLC The 3,000 people killed were the ones that actually worshiped the golden calf. These did not include children.

Moses's request for clemency, to the point that he demanded his name be removed from the Torah, was for the rest of the Jewish nation. Reply

Anonymous Salt Lake City February 20, 2014

Moses has the culprits killed This is where I am confused. Moses has holy chutzpah with Hashem in saying take me out of this book. But why are about 3000 (including children) killed before that point. I am confused. Reply

Charu Ashland, OR via February 16, 2014

the commandments and Moses i like these comments on sin and Moses disagreements and G-d's abiiity to discuss and change his mind .
The lesson I take from this is that we all can not only sin and be wrong in our judgements sometimes - but even G-d can think and listen and change his mind and do something over that he sees as a learning experience, therefore helping others to think things through and not just jump to condemn and react in a destructive way. Reply

Yaakov Palo Alto, CA February 14, 2014

Very Interesting, But . . . . Answers: Exodus 20 Second Law.

Moses was being tested like a 2014 CEO who has finds out that his company is making clothing in a sweat house in Indonesia using children, 'Don't look and you will make millions of dollars and no one will be the wiser'. Many people accept deals like that, but Moses ignores the offer and uses God's Glory as a tool. Remember Moses' job was only to bring the Hebrews to this mountain. We need to trust Moses and his integrity.

Remove my name . . . ." Moses is not refusing to worship God, he is trying to defend those still alive that broke Second Law. From this we learn that no one stands between you and God's judgment. A closer review is where we learn that there is a book of life, for only those that sin against God will surely die.

Death of the soul not death of the body. The L-rd is all about the soul (breath of God in the dirt is a soul; Genesis 2:7) The soul is most valuable possession any human will ever have, yet we treat it with contempt. Shame. Reply

Beverly Kurtin Texas February 10, 2014

Oy! Our friend in Puerto Rico does not understand that Hashem is NOT a bully as he suggested. Hashem gives us what we need, even when we don't believe in him, he believes in us.
There is no place, I think, in Chumash prior to the 10 commandments where we were told not to make idols, however, they messed up by not trusting that Moses would come down.
There still exists today people who would put other gods before them, a major boo-boo in anyone's book. IMHO, methinks that the real reason behind Hashem's anger was against the evil ones who proposed the idol, not the idol itself. He has a way of getting rid of evil people.
But to me, two things fly out: First that one person cannot die for another's sins. Hashem refused to kill Moses for the sins of others. Second, in daily prayers women thank Hashem for making them according to his will. That is our reward for not participating in the building of the golden calf. Again, nobody can die for another's sins. Reply

Anonymous February 4, 2014

Thank You! These summaries are great. Thanks for posting them! Reply

Anonymous Too Virginia March 2, 2013

Re Anonymous comment that Moses is awesome, yes he was our greatest ever!
But it was, it is, and it ever shall be HaShem Who Is Awesome! Reply

Anonymous February 28, 2013

Moses is awesome Moses is awesome Reply

Anonymous san juan via February 24, 2013

Moses! I like the way Moses spoke up to God saying, " “If You do not forgive them, blot me out from the book that You have written.”
I don't believe in God. {i am capitalizing it out of politeness or trying to have good manners and not show any disrespect to people who do believe.]
I respect that Moses will not worship a deity, no matter how powerful, who does not show compassion for people who make human mistakes. Humans do not have perfect knowledge. I cannot understand worshiping a cruel deity. Obeying that deity...maybe out of fear, but worshiping him...never. Reply

Anonymous San Diego, CA March 26, 2012

Moses breaks the tablets Where in the chumash does it tell the Israelites that it was forbidden to worship idols -- before they were in the desert and before they built the golden calf? Reply

john smith fort lauderdale, fl February 18, 2011

the generations it seem "for many generations" is still present today. i am wondering if the first tablets enscribed were exactly the same as the second set along with the new addendum? also wondering if 13 attributes of mercy was written by G-d or for G-d all things considered? Reply

Josh March 12, 2004

It must of taken moses a while to go up and down the mountian several times. Reply

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