The Golden Calf

Learning Group– Parshat Ki Tissa

(Shmot 30:11-34:35)

(Haftara: Parah: Ezekiel 36:16-38)

(Shabbat Parah)

1. [31:1] God called Betzalel ben Uri “by name” to use his talent for craftsmanship. What does it mean to be called “by name” and what does it mean to be called, but not “by name”?

2. [31:13] What does it mean that the Sabbath “is a sign (ot) between Me and you for all generations”?

3. [34:29] When did Moshe put the mask on and when did he take it off? Why would Moshe agree to be an intermediary between God and man? Isn’t this unacceptable to a Torah viewpoint?

4. [Parshat Para]  We read Parshat Parah before the month of Passover in order to give us a feeling of purity.  In the days of the Temple, we had to be ritually pure in order to eat the Passover sacrifice.  We didn’t have to be ritually pure in order to hear the shofar or to sit in the sukkah. Why did someone have to be ritually pure in order to do the commandments of Passover properly?

5. [Haftara: Ezekiel 36:26] “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”.   This is a vision of the ideal time—the messianic time. Don’t we, ourselves, have to change our stone hearts into hearts of flesh? Why is heavenly help needed to bring about this transformation?


[32:26] “…whoever is for God, let him come to me, and all the sons of Levi gathered [to Moshe]”.

 We know that many Israelites did not worship the golden calf. The sons of Levi were not the only ones. However, the others did not have the courage to actively oppose the wrong-doers. They wanted to remain uninvolved. They did not want arguments.  Only Levi actively opposed the evil. That’s why God says, “The Levi’im are mine.” [Bamidbar 3:11]

–R. Yitchak Meir of Ger (1798-1866), Poland.

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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Mizmor LeDavid meets at the Mesorati High School, 8 Beitar Street, in the auditorium. There is another minyan that meets there, we are the one further north. Accessible from Beitar, the single gate at the bottom of the semi-circle of steps, or from the north end of Efrata Street, through the gate on the right, then turn left.

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