Commentary on Parashat Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11 - 34:35
Waiting is difficult. When a child waits, for instance, for a parent to come home, the time can feel excruciatingly long. Patience comes, hopefully with age, and even then it’s a hard-earned attribute.
In our Torah portion the children of Israel wait 40 days and 40 nights for Moses to come down the mountain with the Torah. They are anxious that Moses will never return to them, frightened that they will have no leader to lead them to the promised land. They are so scared that they build themselves an idol–a Golden Calf to accompany them through the desert.
Descending from Mount Sinai, Moses witnesses his people worshipping the Golden Calf. He becomes so angry that he hurls the Ten Commandments, which he just received from God, to the ground. The stone tablets shatter into fragments.
For adults, being able to wait requires developing self-control. Patience is an acquired skill. How can we teach children to have patience? It can be done little by little. For example, a parent can leave a child with a new babysitter for a short amount of time and then lengthen the period over time. A parent can work with a child to have patience in play as well, building more elaborate structures with blocks, for instance, as time goes on. When a child becomes too frustrated, parents can scale back their expectations, making adjustments for the capacity of the child at that moment.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about how the children of Israel were unable to wait for Moses and built a golden calf in his absence.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
When is it hardest to wait?
When do you become frustrated?
What helps you when you are waiting?
Why is patience important?
© Copyright 2009 Joyce and Fred Claar
From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.