25 Feb Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Ki Tissa 5776
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Ki Tissa which finally tells the story of the golden calf. The reason I say finally is because the episode is supposed to have taken place while Moshe was up on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights, a sojourn from which he returned at the end of Parashat Mishpatim (which we read several weeks ago). Since then, Moshe has been giving detailed instruction about the Tabernacle which the rabbis understood as a divine response to the sin of the golden calf; in other words, God only provided the Tabernacle as a response to the sin now understanding that the people needed an appropriate place for worshipping God. Clearly the golden calf was not the way to go, but the Tabernacle was sanctioned by God. While a person could hear that reasoning and start questioning how it was that God didn’t understand the need for it beforehand, I prefer to see it as inspiring that God wants to do what is helpful and spiritually beneficial for us. We talk often about how we can better connect with God but rarely realize that there are instances where God tries to connect better with us as well. The relationship we have with God has always been a two-way street and it is nice to know that God understands that as well.