Rabbi's Message

Rabbi's Message

There is a lot going on in this week’s portion:  A short census to track who is eligible for military service.  Moses up on Mount Sinai getting the commandments (nbd!).  The Golden Calf!  Moses going back up Mount Sinai to get the commandments, again.  That’s not even all of it.  There is a lot going on. 

There is one theme that weaves its way through parshat Ki Tisa - something that everyone can relate to: losing control.  Almost everyone in this week’s portion loses their cool.  The Israelites completely lose it, building a Golden Calf when they lose faith in Moses returning with God’s message.  Aaron loses control over the Israelites in spite of his very important role as High Priest.  In a fit of rage Moses smashes the first set of God’s commandments (and also orders the massacre of three thousand kinsmen who lost faith in God while he was away).  Even God loses God’s cool, threatening to wipe out the Israelites because they have strayed and are a “stiff-necked people” and basically God is tired of it!

Have you ever lost your cool?!  I know I have.  It is comforting to know that our tradition shows us that even God can lose control.  Even God needed help to calm down.  It took Moses reminding God that the Israelites were not ALL bad, that they were simply scared, that they deserved another chance, to keep God from acting on God’s rage.  What helps you calm down?  What helps you regain your composure? 

The lesson from this week’s portion isn’t never lose control.  The lesson is knowing how to deal, who to call, what to do when we lose our tempers or lose ourselves in emotion - fear, anger, frustration.  It happens to all of us.  Knowing who I can count on to calm me down and straighten me out gets me through all my most challenging moments.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rochelle



Parashat Ki Tisa

In this Torah portion, Moses stays with God on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. There, he is given the 10 Commandments on stone tablets. Fearing Moses will never return, the Israelites turn to Aaron, who demands that everyone bring him their gold, so he can make a golden calf. When Moses comes down the mountain and sees the people dancing around this idol, he smashes the tablets on the ground. God punishes with a plague all the Israelites who were involved. Moses builds a tent to be his meeting place with God.