• Ki Tisa ~ 5774 ~ כי תשא

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    Ki Tisa ~ 5774 ~ כי תשא

    Moshe conducts a census by counting each silver half-shekel donated by all men aged twenty and over. Moshe is commanded to make a copper laver for the Mishkan. The women donate the necessary metal. The formula of the anointing oil is specified, and G-d instructs Moshe to use this oil only for dedicating the Mishkan, its vessels, Aaron, and his sons.

    G-d selects Bezalel and Oholiav as master craftsmen for the Mishkan and its vessels. The Jewish People are commanded to keep the Sabbath as an eternal sign that G-d made the world. Moshe receives the two Tablets of Testimony on which the Ten Commandments are written. The mixed multitude who left Egypt with the Jewish People panic when Moshe’s descent seems delayed, and force Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship. Aaron stalls, trying to delay them. G-d tells Moshe to return to the people immediately, threatening to destroy everyone and build a new nation from Moshe. When Moshe sees the camp of idol-worship, he smashes the tablets and destroys the golden calf. The Levi’s sons volunteer to punish the transgressors, executing 3,000 men. Moshe ascends the mountain to pray for forgiveness for the people, and G-d accepts his prayer. Moshe sets up the Mishkan and G-d’s cloud of glory returns. Moshe asks G-d to show him the rules by which he conducts the world, but is granted only a small portion of this request.

    G-d tells Moshe to hew new tablets and reveals to him the text of the prayer that will invoke Divine mercy. Idol worship, intermarriage, and the combination of milk and meat are prohibited. The laws of Pesach, the first-born, the first-fruits, Shabbat, Shavuot and Sukkot are taught. When Moshe descends with the second set of tablets, his face is luminous as a result of contact with the Divine.

    MAFTIR Exodus 34: 33-35 ~ p. 368 

    HAFTORAH I Kings 18:1 – 18:39  ~ p. 369

    During a severe drought, Elijah tells Obadiah – the royal steward who has secretly saved a hundred prophets from Jezebel’s persecution – to inform Ahad of his presence. Elijah confronts Ahad and through him challenges the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the female goddess, Astarte, at Mount Carmel, where there is a large representative gathering of the people. The false prophets work themselves into a frenzy and gash themselves, calling in vain upon Baal to send down fire and consume the bullock they have prepared for sacrifice. Elijah then prepares his sacrifice on an altar of twelve stones corresponding to the number of the tribes of Israel, drenches it with water and utters a simple prayer to G-d. Fire consumes the sacrifice and the people, witnessing the miracle, exclaim: “The Lord, He is G-d! The Lord, He is G-d!” A thunderstorm ends the drought.

    Parashah Study Questions

    1. If the age of adulthood is 13 (for boys) why was the ½ Shekel only collected from those over 20 (30:14)?

    2. How did Hashem describe these idol worshippers, and where does the figure of speech come from (32:9)?

    3. Why is it surprising that Moshe became so angry when he saw the golden calf, causing him to break the tablets of Hashem (hint: 32:8-10)?

    4. What is the difference between the way Aaron described how the golden calf was made and how it was really made (32:4, 32:24)? Is this a problem?

    5. What is Purim Katan? Is there a shushan Purim Katan?  Are there any rituals or traditions to be observed?