Commentary on Parashat Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11 - 34:35
1. God states that taking a census of the children of Israel is most important. The inclusion of those counted is valuable to the individual in two ways. What are they?
2. With reference to “atonement money” that each person over 20 was required to give, how did one determine how much to give?
3. What were Aaron and his sons required to do before they went into the tent of meeting. what happened if they didn’t do it, and why is it significant to us today?
4. Name the five ingredients that made up the anointing oil.
5. We all know that the principle craftsman of the time was Bezalal ben Uri. How did he have the skill and know-how to make all the intricate items required for the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, the furniture, etc.?
6. Who designed and built the golden calf? After it was built, what did the people say about it?
7. What is the difference between the way Aaron described how the golden calf was made and how it was really made?
8. How did God describe the Israelite idol worshippers, and where does this figure of speech come from?
9. What did Moses do with the golden calf?
10. When it came time to declare who was on God’s side, Moses called out for the people to come over to him. Who came and what were they told to do?
11. How did Moses intercede on behalf of the people so that God would not destroy them?
12. Why is it surprising that Moses became so angry when he saw the golden calf, causing him to break the tablets of God?
13. Why did God say that He could not lead the people from their midst and did that stand up in the end?
1. The census was considered a ransom for atonement of their souls to God and was also beneficial for prevention of plagues among the people (30:12).
2. Everyone gave 1/2 shekel which equaled 10 gerahs (30:13).
3. Aaron and his sons were required to wash their hands and feet with water from a laver of brass, and if they did not they would die. Today, this is part of what Cohanim are required to do (30:18).
4. The anointing oil was made of myrrh, cinnamon, cassia, sweet calamus, and olive oil (30:23-25).
5. God filled Bezalel with His spirit, in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship (31:2-3).
6. Aaron built and designed the golden calf. The people said “This is thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (32:2-4).
7. Aaron said he threw the gold into the fire and there came out this calf. In the description of its construction we are told: “he received it (the gold) at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it a molten calf” (32:4).
8. God called the people ‘Stiff-necked’ which is derived from the stubborn ox that refuses to submit to the yoke (32:9).
9. Moses burned the golden calf with fire, ground it into powder, mixed it with water, and made the Israelites drink it (32:20).
10. All the sons of Levi were told to strap on their swords and go kill all those who had been involved with the golden calf, even if it was someone close to them (32:26-27).
11. Moses asked: what would the Egyptians say? He also reminded God of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; to multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and that all of this land He had spoken of would be given to their seed and they would inherit it forever (32:12-13).
12. God had already told Moses what was going on before he got there, he should not have been surprised (32:7-8,19).
13. God said he could not be in the midst of the people because God’s power would consume them. This did not last because Moses convinced God to travel among the people (33:3, 34:9).
Provided by the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.
Pronounced: ark, Origin: English, the place in the synagogue where the Torah scrolls are stored, also known as the aron kodesh, or holy cabinet.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.