(Shmot 30:11-34:35)

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

(Purim)

  1. [31:2] “Look, I have called by name Betzalel ben Uri…” Betzalel is called by name, and  Moshe is also called by name [33:12]. What does it mean to be called “by name” and what does it mean to be called, but not “by name”?
  2. [31:13] “…it is a sign (ot) between me and you…” Shabbat is a sign (ot) between God and man, and tfillin are just called a sign (ot). What does it mean that Shabbat and tfillin are an “ot”? Why is Shabbat an “ot” between man and God, and tfillin is simply an “ot”?
  3. . [32:4] “And he (Aharon) took it from them… and made it a molten calf”. Aharon was not really punished for the sin of the golden calf. Why wasn’t he punished?
  4. [Haftara: Kings I (Melachim I) 18:21] “…how long will you stay between two opinions. If God  is  God, then follow Him, and if Ba’al then follow him…”   Isn’t this a dangerous educational method? The people could have said that they choose Ba’al.  Why did Eliyahu choose these words, rather than simply rebuking the people for being  idolators?
  5. [Purim] The story and the laws of Purim are quite serious. The customs, however, are much less serious—costumes, noise when we hear “Haman”, purimshpiels etc. What caused our tradition to make Purim into such a “fun” festival?

Commentary

The will makes the ethical decision; the body implements and executes; through his will, man becomes master of his body. The moral act starts with the will,  but is only completed by the body through mitzvoth ma’asiyot, actual mitzvah performances. This is a unique feature of Judaism, to proclaim the will as all-powerful, sufficient to transform the whole of life.

–R. Yoseph Dov Soloveitchik,  1903-1993, Lithuania, USA. 

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker

And 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