Parshat Ki Tissa

(Shmot 30:11-34:35)

(Haftara: Kings I [Melachim I] 18, 1-39)

  1. [32:4] Aaron was not really punished for the sin of the golden calf and, therefore, some commentaries say that the sin was not idolatry. If it was not idolatry, then what might the people be trying to do with this calf?
  1. [32:19] “…and he threw the tablets from his hands and he broke them…” Although Moshe knew about the sin of the golden calf before he came down from the mountain, he still broke the tablets. [32:7,8]. The Sforno (1475-1550, Italy) that when Moshe saw how happy the Israelites were, he got angry and threw the tablets down. The Rashbam (10851158, France). says that Moshe lost his strength when he saw the worshippers and he threw the tablets so they wouldn’t fall on his feet when they dropped. Which of these explanations seems better to you?
  1. Rashi says that Aharon co-operated in making the calf because he was scared of being killed. The Ibn Ezra says that Aharon co-operated because he didn’t believe that the calf was idolatry. And if it were idolatry, he would not have done it, even under the threat of death. What is the difference between the way that each of the commentators sees Aharon? How would each viewpoint affect other stories of Aharon in the Torah?
  1. [32:4] Rashi says that the “mixed multitudes”—the non-Israelites who also came out of Egypt–started the sin of the golden calf, and then lured the Israelites into doing the sin. The Torah does not specifically say this. We know that the Israelites are also capable of negative behaviour, so what does Rashi gain by blaming the “mixed multitudes”?
  1. [Purim] Is Achashverosh an evil character, a sympathetic character or somewhere in-between?


My soul yearns to enter into its own deepest places. The more I try to acquire from the light of Torah and the light of the world, I find that all the sources of the pure things that I desire must be found in the depths of the soul itself.

  1. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer


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