Parashat Ki Tissa

Up And Down The Mountain Of Life

The Israelites worshipped the Golden Calf because they lost an awareness of God; when we are aware of the presence of God, we become holy and make the right choices

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In terms of the process of purification, it is explained that when ignorance ceases, action ceases; when action ceases, consciousness ceases; when consciousness ceases, name and form cease; when name and form cease, the six sense spheres cease; when the six sense spheres cease, contact ceases; when contact ceases, feeling ceases; when feeling ceases, attachment ceases; when attachment ceases, grasping ceases; when grasping ceases, the potentialized level of karma called "existence" ceases; when the potentialized level of karma called "existence" ceases, birth ceases; when birth ceases, aging and death cease (attributed to the Dalai Lama).

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered: Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives: Be kind anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you: Be honest and frank anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow: Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway (attributed to Mother Teresa in There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, by Dr. Wayne Dyer).

And the women dancing with their timbrels followed Miriam as she sang her song ("Miriam's Song" by Debbie Friedman, Sounds Write Productions).

Singing had an important role in Jewish life. The Jewish people came to such a deep state of despair that only singing would help. Singing is a manifestation of hope. The song is a cry, and afterwards you feel free (Miriam Harel of Lodz, cited in Singing for Survival: Songs of the Lodz Ghetto, 1940-45 by Gila Flam).

Had God brought all, brought all of us, brought all of us out from Egypt, Dayeinu!/ Had God given, given to us, given to us all the Sabbath, Dayeinu!/ Had God given, given to us, given to us all the Torah, Dayeinu! (Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom, The Rabbinical Assembly, 1982).

I believe with all my heart in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may tarry, I will wait each and every day for his arrival (Maimonides, Commentary to Mishnah: Sanhedrin, 1168, 10.1, Thirteen Principles, #12).

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. / I believe in love even when I do not feel it. / I believe in God even when God is silent (Jews in Germany, 1939, quoted in Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom, The Rabbinical Assembly, 1982).

It is noted in another place that the writing thereon [the tablets] was like "black fire on white fire," while according to yet another, it would bear that the stones were transparent: The writing was read from behind, and that on the reverse was read from in front.… [The tablets] were cast from the hands of Moses and were broken, and here it is explained by the Zohar that this was because the letters took flight and no writing remained upon them that could possibly be seen by Israel (A. E. Waite, The Holy Kabbalah: A Study of the Secret Tradition in Israel, 1924).

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Jennifer Werby is the cantor of Congregation B'nai Yisrael in Armonk, NY