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A Concrete Relationship with God

In Parashat Ki Tisa, the Israelites wait for Moses to return from the mountaintop. Feeling insecure with a lack of leadership, they tell Aaron to create a Golden Calf.

D'var Torah By: 
Religion as a Way to Reach Holiness
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Jason Rosenberg

One of the lessons of Parashat Ki Tisa is that we need concrete reminders, symbols, of our fundamental ideas. But while we embrace them we have to remember that these symbols — whether they be physical, ritual, textual, or other — exist for us, not for God. 

Can You Really Ask God That?

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisainterrupts the description of the building of the Tabernacle with a long narrative section that includes the story of the Golden Calf, the smashing of the Ten Commandments, the carving of the second set of tablets, and — although perhaps less famously — the most chutzpadik (impertinent) question in the whole Torah.

The question comes after Moses has negotiated twice with God on behalf of the Israelites: first, with moderate success, when he asks God to forgive the people for the sin of the idolatrous Golden Calf; and second, when he successfully convinces God to lead the Israelites along the next stage of their journey.

But Moses' next negotiation with God is not on behalf of the Israelites, but for himself. Out of the blue, it seems, just as God has acceded to his second request, Moses speaks up again. "Oh, let me behold Your Presence!" he says to God (Exodus 33:18).

D'var Torah By: 
Anger and the Voice of (Almost) Reason
Davar Acher By: 
Rachel Ackerman

The dance between Moses and God is always a complicated one, and Ki Tisa offers us no exception.

Just as Moses nears the end of his 40 days and nights atop Mount Sinai and finishing touches are being put on the tablets, God urges Moses to hurry down the mountain because God wants to be left alone to destroy the Israelites for having built the Golden Calf.

But Moses begs God not to destroy these people, telling God that doing so would bring into question God's motives in the first place and make God out to be evil. And God relents to Moses.

Shattering the Tablets...For Our Sake

"As soon as Moses came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, he became enraged; and he hurled the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain." (Exodus 32:

D'var Torah By: 
Moses' Aura
Davar Acher By: 
Audrey Friedman Marcus

"And as Moses came down from the mountain bearing the two tablets of the Pact, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant, since he had spoken with God.

Making Matters Count

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, is filled with action, drama, and explosive notions of faith and fear.

D'var Torah By: 
Art for God's Sake
Davar Acher By: 
Nancy M. Berman

The profound and dynamic drama in this week's Torah portion ranges from God's design specifications for the wilderness Tabernacle, to the sin of idol worship (the golden calf), to Moses' subs

To See God's Shadow

This week's parashah, Ki Tisa, portrays several dramatic scenes. In one of them, we find the Israelites camped below Mount Sinai.

D'var Torah By: 
How Our Behavior Toward Others Reflects Our Faith in God
Davar Acher By: 
Ellen Nemhauser

Some say that we live in a faithless age. People struggle to believe in God and wonder what, if any, involvement God has in their lives.

A Time to Cast Away ... and a Time to Gather

This week's parashah, Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35), contains a story with which most of us are familiar the breaking of the first se

D'var Torah By: 
A Sign for All Time
Davar Acher By: 
Nina Mizrahi

When Parashat Ki Tisa begins, God has nearly completed the divine instruction to Moses, and the people are awaiting Moses' descent from Mount Sinai with great impatience

Rearranging the Golden Calf

A case can be made that the second half of the Book of Exodus is out of order, especially the incident of the golden calf in this week's parashah, Ki Tisa.

D'var Torah By: 
To Have or To Be?
Davar Acher By: 
Yael Splansky

Although it was not long ago that the Children of Israel offered their precious stones and metals for the building of the Tabernacle, now they melt down their earrings for a god of gold.

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