Parashat Ki Tissa: Exodus 30:11 to 34:35

For Week of Friday, March 1, 2024

As my Rabbi used to remind me, these chapters in Exodus comprise a very important Torah story. First of all, this contains the narrative of the Golden calf. Moses has been away from the people for over a month. In their anxiety, they force Aaron to build an idol. Moses finally descends from the mountain on the fortieth day, and confronted by this spectacle, breaks the two tablets of stone upon which were carved the ten commandments. Thus he must return to the mountain to obtain a new set of tablets. While ascending the mountain top, he receives more revelations and new laws, which we find in Exodus chapter 34.

Scholars call Exodus chapter 34 the “little book of the Covenant,” and it is perhaps the oldest compilation of laws found in the Torah.

Our Torah portion contains many other interesting narratives. Here we find the “V’shamru” paragraph which reminds us to keep and remember the Sabbath. (found in chapter 31). We also find the famous passage that contains the “thirteen attributes” of the divine essence. That is found in chapter 34:6 and 7. We also learn of God’s response to Moses’ request that He reveal his “face” to him. Moses must hide in the cleft of a cave, and will only perceive God’s essential attributes, in passing.

Join us for a vibrant Torah study this Shabbat morning.

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