1. The order in which G‑d has established a process of accent for the Jewish people, often entails a descent for the purpose of ascent. Indeed, from contemplating the extent of the descent, we can appreciate the extent of the ascent that will follow.

This concept can be seen in a comparison of the aliyos in this week’s Torah portion. The aliyah associated with the third day of the week — the day when the expression “and G‑d saw that it was good” was repeated — and even more so, the aliyah associated with the fourth day of the week reflect a state of ascent for the Jewish people. And this comes precisely because of the drastic descent, [the sin of the Golden Calf,] described in the passages that preceded these. Because of the awesome nature of that descent, the subsequent ascent is also great.

Indeed, our Sages explain that this descent was unparalleled in the history of the world from the time of Creation1 onward. Although there had been several cycles of descent and ascent previously, never had there been a descent of such great scale. And accordingly, there was never an ascent of such a great nature.

The rationale for such a cycle can be understood within the context of the explanation in Chassidic thought that sin is, to paraphrase a verse, “an awesome intrigue devised against man.” The Jews, by nature, are above connection with unfavorable influences. G‑d, however, devises “an awesome intrigue” in order to elevate our people to a higher level by having them undergo a descent beforehand.

Similarly, in regard to the matter at hand, G‑d allowed for the possibility of such a great descent, because in His great mercy, He wanted to elevate the Jews to a drastically high level. Our Sages relate that this deed was not befitting the level of the Jewish people. Nevertheless, G‑d allowed the possibility of a temporary descent,2 with the intent that this would bring about a great ascent afterwards, an ascent that would be permanent in nature.

We see a similar concept in regard to the ultimate Redemption. The ascent which will come after the descent of the exile will have a lasting effect.3 [This will be a Redemption which is not followed by an exile,] and subsequently, it will initiate a pattern of uninterrupted ascent as we “proceed from strength to strength” until we “appear before G‑d in Zion.”

Based on the above, we can appreciate why the entire Torah reading is entitled Ki Sisa which literally means “When you raise up.” For G‑d’s intent in regard to all the undesirable matters mentioned in this Torah portion was to bring the Jews to a higher level, and indeed, the highest level possible, enabling them “to proceed from strength to strength” and to continue until they reach the highest peak, the true4 and ultimate Redemption, when we will merit an endless and unvarying sequence of good.

(This process of unfailing progress must first be realized within the Divine service of the Jews, for every revelation must be initiated through a Jew’s service. This is particularly true in regard to beginning a cycle of unending good, for permanence and eternity are qualities that can be endowed only through the service of the Jews. The Jews, in turn, have this potential because “Israel and the Holy One, blessed be He, are entirely one.”)

These concepts are further emphasized by the mention of the two sets of Tablets of the Ten Commandments in this week’s Torah reading. Each one possesses an advantage over the other and both of these dimensions — although radically different — are mentioned in this week’s Torah reading.

(This reflects how every Jew has the potential to carry out several tasks, even tasks which are opposite in nature, in a single day. He has been granted the potential to carry out such Divine service. All that is necessary is that he desire to do so. And in truth, he has such a desire for the inner will of every Jew is to serve G‑d in a complete way.)

May we all and the entire Jewish people experience the ultimate ascent, the Redemption, in the immediate future. And then we will merit the First Tablets, the Second Tablets,5 and the broken tablets which allude to the service of teshuvah.6

May this take place immediately, causing the next moment to be the last moment of the exile, to be followed immediately thereafter by the first moment of the Redemption. And then as explained above, there will begin a sequence of uninterrupted and progressively advancing good. And we will proceed “with our youth and with our elders... with our sons and with our daughters” to Eretz Yisrael, to Jerusalem, and to the Third (and threefold) Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.