Recently, I sat with one of my congregants, a beautiful, smart, and funny 12-year-old girl who told me about the social challenges she is having in school. Likely because she is so beautiful, smart, and funny, some of the other "popular" girls in her class do not like her.
The last instruction that Moses receives on Mount Sinai, before God gives him the inscribed tablets, before the incident of the Golden Calf, is the reminder about the importance of the sabbath.
This week's Torah portion contains one of the most dramatic events in the entire Torah, the incident of the Golden Calf. Moses has been on Mount Sinai for a very long time, too long for those Israelites who still carry Egypt in their hearts to wait.
On July 2, 2014, the prestigious science journal Nature retracted two heralded papers in the field of stem cell research, papers it had published only a few months earlier. The articles described a revolutionary process called STAP, where biologists subjected mature adult cells to physical stresses and transformed them into stem cells. Yet, in the editorial announcing the papers' retraction, Nature's editors reported that the "data that were an essential part of the authors' claims had been misrepresented" and that the authors' work was marred by "sloppiness" and "selection bias" ("Editorial: STAP retracted," Nature, vol. 511, no. 7507, July 2, 2014). All told, as the journalist Dana Goodyear has written, "a far-reaching and sensational conjecture" was "defeated by flaws that were at best irreparable and at worst unconscionable" ("The Stress Test," The New Yorker, February 29, 2016, pp. 46-57).