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THEMES of Featured Chasidic Masters Articles

Blame It on Me
Moses suspected that the Golden Calf was all his fault.
It is written: "All Israel are responsible for one another" - they are commingled with one another for they all share a single root. The Baal Shem Tov taught that Moses knew of the profound interconnectedness of every Jew. Therefore, whenever he saw some bad trait in a Jew, he would blame himself.
When I Wanted, You Did Not
"Why do terrible things happen to good people?"-- the timeless question asked by Moses to G-d.
When G-d appeared to Moses at the burning bush, Moses refused to look. G-d appeared then in the lowly thorn-bush in order to demonstrate that "I am with you in your pain and suffering". But Moses did not want to see G-d’s face in the Holocaust. He did not want to "hear" Divine explanations for human suffering. Moses "hid his face" and just wanted to cry.
Halving the Holy Shekel
Mystical insights into the higher half of love for G-d.
G-d instructed Moses that when taking a census, each person contributes a silver half-shekel coin as they file, one by one, past the census takers. These coins are then tallied to yield the census.

The Hebrew word for "silver" is "kesef", a term related to the word for "longing". The Baal HaTanya teaches that by giving the half-shekel of silver, each one is asked to strive for a transcendent type of love for G-d - a yearning to bind to the Infinite.
Carving the Tablets
When the tablets were broken, only the stone shattered. The letters, G-dly revelations, dissipated into the spiritual realm but never disappeared.
On an external level, the Jews were sinners when they served the Golden Calf. However, since their sin was only a temporary aberration – a mistake – they are considered to have remained profoundly and spiritually united with G‑d.

The same is true of the tablets. On the superficial level, they were carved out of stone and this stone shattered when the tablets were broken. But the letters, G‑dly revelations, never disappeared.
Sins, Snakes, & Golden Calf
At the giving of the Torah, the blemish of sin was removed from the world
Man, essentially, has no connection to sin. The Zohar thus reads the verse, "When a soul sins" as an exclamation of surprise - "a soul that sins?!" The whole concept of sin is introduced because G-d in His great kindness wants to bring man to an even greater level.
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