Torah Commentary

Torah Commentary

Why so Quiet?

Children, and teenagers especially, are often told to think about what they say, and how they say it. Instead of speaking cavalierly, it's best to speak carefully and in a measured manner. In fact, perhaps it's best to listen more than speak. This is a lesson many of us could benefit from, and this week's parashah could help us.

Parashat Ki Tisa: Waking Up to Freedom

In Parshat Ki Tisa, we learn that even though the Israelites have left Egypt, they carry with them the shape of a dictator long gone. While Moses speaks with God on Mount Sinai, recording the laws by which this new nation will live, the Israelites ask Aaron to make them a new deity, who according to midrash, was "like those of the Egyptians" (Pirke de-rabbi Eliezer, 45).

In Fear, What Will We Choose to Build?

As former slaves, the Israelites were no strangers to backbreaking labor to glorify Pharaoh and Egyptian deities. During their transformational journey from Egypt to The Promised Land, the Israelites build two notable structures for their own use.

The Challenge of Holding God Close While Keeping Fear at Bay

The poet Yehuda Amichai writes: I don’t want an invisible god...  I want a god who is seen... , so I can lead him around and tell him what he doesn’t see… ... In this week’s portion, Ki Tisa, we reconnect with this unfinished storyline at the beginning of Exodus 32. While Moses tarries atop Mount Sinai, the people down below are losing their patience: