Parashat Ki Tisa

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Parashat Ki Tisa is the ninth parsha in the Book of Shemos. It contains 132 pesukim. For the Haftora, the story of Eliyahu's miraculous sacrifice on Mount Carmel is read.


[edit] Machatzit HaShekel

Hashem tells Moshe when he takes[1] a counts the Jews by their numbers to know how many they are,[1] it should be done by collecting a half a shekel from each each male above the age twenty and counting those rather than by doing a headcount.[1] This donation would also server as an atonement for their souls. By calculating the total of the Jewish Nation through the counting of the coins, Moshe is able to avoid the creation of a devastating plague that could incur had he counted the actual people. This method was to be used any time the Jews are to be counted.

Here the Jews were counted to update their population status after the fatalities suffered due to the Chet Haegel[2] from the drinking of the powdered waters, the mass execution led by the Levim and the large plague that took place.[3] Counting the Jews was an act of love,[2] just like an owner would request his shepherd would recount his sheep after a plague befell his flock.[2] Additionally the more the Jews increase, the more the honor of Hashem increases, so counting them would invoke that.[4]

Additionally, the silver coins from this collection were used for the creation of the Adanim and Vavim in the Mishkan[5] and served as a remembrance of the Jews before Hashem and as a partial rectification for the 'sin of the golden calf'. Hundreds of years later the merit of the Machtzit Hashekel collections helped annul the silver Shikalim offered by Haman to gain control of the Jews.[6]

[edit] Prevention of Plague

When things are counted it gives Ayin Hara a grasp over it and can lead to a plague when Jews are counted. This happened when King Dovid had the nation counted directly and a plague broke out, killing thousands.[1]

[edit] Multiplication

One of the strengths of the 'Sitra Acher' are their 'mass numbers'. At least in the lower parts of creation, they far outnumber the 'Side of Holiness'. One manifestation being Yisroel vs. the Seventy Nations. Therefore when the 'Side of Holiness' attempts to flaunt its numbers, the 'Sitra Acher' rises up with great protest, declaring how they number many times this amount. This can give them a grasp and domination over the counting, which can even conclude with a plague.[4]

Masses of the 'Sitra Acher' are limited to their individual units, since each person is separate and not attached or bound to the others. Jews on the other hand, are connected with each others souls. Therefore when they get together, they bind and attach. This causes great multiplication, since each Jew that joins the group creates new combinations and permutations. This mystery is expanded upon in Sefer Yetzira, where it explains how two stones build 2 houses, three stones build 6 houses, four stones build 24 houses, five stones build 120 houses, six stones build 720 houses, seven stones build 5040 houses etc. In short, when Jews unify together, it creates a new entity out of each possible combination and permutation of their souls, which greatly increases each time even a single Jews is added to the assembly.

This was one of the reasons why a half a shekel was collected instead of the actual people being counted, as it symbolized how each Jew was only a partial unit that must join the assembly for completion. This in-turn invoked the creation of countless entities through all the combinations and permutations that were produced. These created entities far outnumbered the single units from the masses of the Sitra Acher, completely nullifying their power,[4] allowing the count to take place without risking a plague.

[edit] Countering Haughtiness

Plenitude and abundance which are ascertained through counting are a latching point for great haughtiness. Therefore, counting the Jews and ascertaining their abundance could lead to great haughtiness, which borders the realm of death, which can produce the actualization of a plague. With complete humility however, one is able to have abundance and not become haughty, since a person who is truly humble, the more he is honored, the more humble he becomes. This was one of the reasons why the Jews were counted through the donation of a Machtzit Hashekel and not person by person. This was a form of Tzedaka, which leads to humility. Through this, the more the Jews increased, not only did they not become haughty, rather they become even more humble and served Hashem harder.[7]

[edit] Half a Shekel

Each shekel equaled 20 Gerahs or 4 Zuz,[8] making each half shekel coin equal ten Gerah or 2 Zuz. Each Gerah was equivalent to one silver 'Manah' coin.[8] (Originally each Zuz was equivalent to 5 Gerah/Mana coins[8] giving the calculation of 4 Zuz equals 20 Gerah/Mana. Later in History the Zuz was raised to equal 6 Manah.[8]

This Shekel value was called 'Shekel HaKodesh' the 'Holy Shekel' and was used throughout the Torah, specifically for the redemption of 'Arichin evaluations' and 'donated inherited properties'.[8] Half shekel coins were minted from pure silver without any contaminations or mixed alloys. These coins were also referred to as a 'Bekka'.[9] Moshe was unsure of the exact size of the Machatzit Hashekel, so Hashem showed him a coin made from fire[8] whose dimensions would define[3] the weight of the silver 'half shekel' coin,[8] and told him that they should give a coin like this.[8]

[edit] Part of Whole

Half shekel coins were used to show how each Jew himself was incomplete and could only become whole when he joins with other Jews.[4]

[edit] Moshe's Complication

Unlike other charities and collection where individuals could donate as they willed or could afford, the Machtzit Hashekel collection mandated a set donation. Those that were rich could not give more and those that were poor could not give less. This served to the humble the wealthy's haughtiness and to raise the impoverished's esteem. Just like haughtiness is an unsavory characteristic, so too is unhealthy humility , which leads to shyness, sheepishness, timidness, insecurity and meekness causing 'constricted consciousness', low self esteem and laziness, all of which inhibit a person from properly serving Hashem. This is why the Machtzit Hashekel was used, since as the half point of the money unit, it denotes the medium of this calculation for attaining balance between 'haughtiness' and 'unhealthy humility'.[7] Moshe was perplexed how he could merit every Jew to attain this balance of having total true humility, of being a complete nothing with no vested self interests, yet at the same time retaining the ability to be completely strong and energetic with holy brazenness, not allowing anything to push him over. Hashem therefore showed Moshe a coin of fire, setting the exact weight of the Machtzit Hashekel, which was a manifestation of this fine balance. At the same time it revealed how coins when used for charity, are the very solution for attaining this balance.[7] A rich man does not give charity only out of haughtiness, as he believes he is deserving of all his wealth and pays no attention to the plight of the poor. His rectification is therefore to give charity which is done through humbling himself and considering that the pauper might be a better person then him, therefore take heed of his situation. This same act of charity rectifies the pauper, since gaining more money raises him from constricted consciousness. It comes out that charity brings proper humility and eliminates unhealthy humility.[7] This further manifested in the Machtzit Hashekel collection where the rich had to assist the poor to give the mandated sum when they could not afford to do so on their own.[3]

[edit] The Collection

Only males over the age of twenty, were subject to the Machatzit HaShekel collection. This was the age of eligibility to enter the Jewish army, and at that age a male would enter the category of being a 'man'.[10] Each individual had to submit precisely a half a shekel, not more, not less, regardless if the individual was wealthy or poor. As part of the process, everyone lined up then passed through the registration one by one, submitting their half shekel coin.[8] There are opinions that the Tribe of Levi was not subject to this collection.[11]

[edit] 20 Years Old

The twenty year old age bracket for entering the Machzit Hashekel count was not dependent on the exact date of birth but rather if the individual had reached their twentieth cycle of Rosh Chodesh Teshri.[12] Therefore anyone that was born between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipor, although they were technically 20 years old, were not eligible for this count.[3] Similarly, those born before Rosh Hashana, having lived through 20 occurrences of that date, were eligible for the counting although they had not actually reached the age of 20.[13]

[edit] Total Count

The total count of the Jews was 603,550 adult males.[14] This was the same exact total achieved for the Second Machtzit Hashekel count that place around six months later. Although the 'initial count' took place on the first year following the Egyptian exodus and the 'second count' took place during second year, there was no population increase, although more males had turned twenty. This was because the 'years in the desert' were calculated starting from Rosh Chodesh Nisson, while the eligibility bracket for being counted, was set by individuals that had already been 20 years old on Rosh Chodesh Tishri. Therefore, any individual that had not been eligible during the 'first count' was not eligible during the 'second count' and the same exact people were recounted.[2] At the same time, no one had died during this six month period, since as long as the Jews did not commit any sins in the desert they were protected by the clouds from all natural death and illnesses.[3]

[edit] Sum

This collection of 603,550 half shekels yielded 100 kikraim and 1775 shekels of silver. Each Kikar was equivalent to 3,000 shekel. Since 600,000 half shekels produced 300,000 full shikalim it equaled 100 Kikarim. An additional 3,550 half shekel equaled 1,175 full shikalim.[9]

[edit] Usage

100 kikrim were used for the Adanim - sockets both for the Kirashim - beams and for the pillars holding up the Parochet for the Ohel Moed.[2] 100 sockets were created in total, each one using a kikar of silver.[15] 96 were used for the 48 Kirashim, who sported two Adonim per beam. An additional 4 Adonim were used for each of the 4 Amudim - pillars.[15] The remaining 1775 shikalim were used for the Vavim - hooks[16] of the courtyard Amudim and also to coat their tops with silver.[17]

[edit] Date

This was one of three collections and took place right at the start of the Mishkan collection right after Yom Kipor following Moshe's second descent upon attaining forgiveness for the sin of the golden calf.[2] This independent collection was used for creation of the Adanim - sockets[5] and the Vavim - hooks for the Mishkan that totaled 100 Kikar.[5] The two other collections included the actual Mishkan collection where everyone donated as they wanted and the second Machatzit HaShekel collection[2] that took place immediately after the building of the Mishkan around six months following the first collection, during the month of Iyyar on the 2nd year following the Egyptian exodus[5] and is mentioned in Parshas Bamidbar, where an exact half a shekelwas give by both rich and poor, whose proceeds were used to buy public sacrifices.[5]

[edit] Implantation

Aside from gaining an accurate census following the plague, Moshe also used the Machtzit Hashekel collection process to imbue the Jewish Nation with the attribute of 'measured constriction'. Constriction is a very needed ability for spiritual progress, as it prevents the negative effects that can be caused by 'over excitement' and an 'inflamed imagination'. These can lead a person to crash when he comes to term with the reality not matching his expectations and also prevents him from doing actions out of unbalanced excitement that he will later regret.[3] Additionally when a person omits too much self excitement, he impresses his personal agendas and energy on those around him, inhibiting their own individual growth.[18]

As long as the Jews were never counted, their individualites were unrestricted leading to the negative nonrestrictive attributes of 'over excitement' and 'inflamed imagination'. By counting them and making each person a single measured unit of the overall entire nation, Moshe implanted in them the ability to better use 'measured constriction' for their personal spiritual growth, thereby influencing all generations descending from them.[18]

Enacting this transformation was dangerous since bringing them to a state of constriction raised the possibility of the constriction going too far and turning into judgments,[3] which would in-turn greatly increased the already existing threat of the counting leading to a plague. This was especially true for the first Machtzit Hashekel count, where this implantation was first introduced.[3] To counteract this, Moshe used the silver coins gathered in this initial collection for the construction of the Mishkan. One of the functions of the Mishkan and Beis Hamikdash was to serve as a balancing center, used to provide equilibrium between 'over excitement' and too much 'constriction'. This was accomplished when everyone would gather by it as one large nation, yet retain elements of their individuality to a degree. By binding the Machtzit Hashekel collection with the Mishkan, Moshe was able to transfer some equilibrium into this process and prevented it from causing too much constriction, thereby averting the plague.[18]

[edit] Kiyor HaNechoshet

Hashem tells Moshe to create a copper washstand with a copper base[19] that would be used by the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet before entering Ohel Moed to bring the Ketores in the morning and afternoon, or to sprinkle blood of the bull brought by an anointed Kohen Gadol committed an act based on his errored Halachic decision or from goat brought to to atone idolatry.[20] Also any Kohen wishing to bring a sacrifice on the External Altar located in the Chatzer courtyard[19] would have to first wash. Doing either of the above[21] without first washing one's hands and feet was punishable by death.[20] The washstand was to be placed between the Ohel Moed and the altar and filled with water. This applies to Aharon and his descendants for all generations.

[edit] Size, Shape & Location

The Kiyor was shaped like a large kettle which had faucets to pour out water through their openings.[19] In order for the Kiyor to be valid, it had to have the ability to hold enough water for four Kohanim to wash at the same time.[22] The water had to be poured from the Kiyor itself and not from its base.[19] The Kiyor was located between the Mezbeach HaNechosehs - Altar of for burnt offerings[19] and the Ohel Moed. Unlike the Mezbeach which stood directly across from the opening of the Ohel Moed, the Kiyor stood out a little to the south, leaving a clear open space between the Mezbeach and Ohel Moed.[19]

[edit] Reading Parshat HaKiyor

The section from Parshat Ki Tisa related to the Kiyor is recited by many people each day at the start of the Shachris and Mincha prayers.

[edit] Cleansing

Washing from the Kiyor was a purification for minor impurities, similar to a Mikva that cleanses from stronger impurities.[3] Even going from a lower state of holiness to a higher state of holiness requires purification.[3] The Kohen would would lay his right hand on his right foot and his left hand on his left foot[23] and wash them both at the same time.[23]

While washing their hands and feet, the Kohanim would meditate on cleaning and removing all thoughts of haughtiness and self interests from their minds so they can perform the Temple services for the sake of Hashem alone. Similarly one is to perform similar meditations while reciting the section of the Kiyor before prayers so he can pray for the sake of Hashem without haughtiness or vested self interests.[24]

[edit] Shemen HaMishcha

Hashem tells Moshe to create holy anointing oil.

[edit] Components

The Shemen HaMishcha anointing oil was only to be compounded from the finest high quality[25] spices making it a perfumed compound, where each element absorbed fragrance from the other,[26] by an expert perfumer,[26] using the art of skilled mixing.[26] It included....

  1. Shemen Zayit - Olive oil measuring one 'Hin' which equaled 12 'Lugin'.[27] It was used to soak the spices after they has first been soaked in water. This allowed the oil to absorb the fragrance of the spices but not get swallowed up by them.[27]
  2. Muhr Dror - Pure myrrh weighing 500 shekels.
  3. Kinhamon Bosem - Fragrant cinnamon weighing 500 shekels. Since cinnamon is the bark of a tree and there are parts that taste and smell only like wood, care must be taken to select only parts that have fragrant smell and good taste.[25] Although the cinnamon weighed 500 shekels just like the pure myrrh and cassia, it was weighed in two separate batches of 250 shekel each. Since each time spices were weighed a little was added to make it overweight, this allowed the cinnamon to receive two overweights instead of one,[25] make the amount a drop more then the myrrh and cassia.[3]
  4. Kaneh Bosem - A variety of Cane that has fragrance[25] weighing 250 shekels in total.[25]
  5. Kidah - Cassia - the root of an herb[27] weighing 500 shekels.

[edit] Anointments

Moshe was to anoint each of the following items in the shape of the Greek letter Chaf [28]which looks like our Nun.

  1. Ohel Moed - Tent of Meeting
  2. Aron Hadut - Ark of Testimony
  3. Shulchan - Table including all its vessels
  4. Menorah - Candelabra including all its vessels
  5. Mizbeach HaKetoret - Altar of incense
  6. Mizbeach Ha'olah - Altar of the burnt offering including all its vessels
  7. Kiyor - Washstand and its base.
  8. Aharon and his sons - Aharon and his four sons Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar.

When anointed, these vessels became great[29] and categorized as 'holy of holies' and any object that touched them and was fit for sacrificial use became 'holy'. This 'holy' status made the object unfit for offering if it were to ever leave its designated boundaries, stay out overnight, or come in contact with a person who has immersed himself from uncleanness on that day but did not yet pass through the night. It also prevented the object from being redeemed to return to the state of ordinary unsanctified food.[29] If an object that touched them was not fit for any sacrificial use, it did not become holy.[29] This holy anointing oil is to be used for all generations. Despite its initial and future use, miraculously none of it got used up and all 12 'Lugs' of the oil remained from future use.[30]

[edit] Exclusivity

It is forbidden to pour the original[31] Shemen Hamishcha upon human flesh aside from its permitted anointments on Kings and the Kohen Gadol.[32] It is also forbidden to compound oil using the Shemen Hamishcha calculated[31] formula with the same exact ingredients[31] and ratio.[31] If ingredients are added or left out or combined in a different ratio per each 'Hin' of oil then it is permissible.[31] Anyone who illegal use of the original batch of anointing oil created by Moshe[32] or compounds a duplicate batch, receives Karet and becomes cut off from his people. However one who makes actual use of a duplicated batch is not punished.[31]

[edit] Ketoret HaSamim

Hashem tells Moshe to take aromatics and create an incense formula, compounding it according to the art of the perfumer, to be burnt twice daily on the golden altar inside Ohel Moed. It should be well blended, pure, and holy and have the status of 'holy of holies'.

[edit] Preparation

The Ketoret incense contained 11 main spices. Four are written openly in the Torah and the rest are alluded to in the verse. The main four all had equal weight of 70 Manah.[33] All spices had to be pure (Tahor)[34] from any spiritual impurities (Tumah), they had to be purchased using sacred money (Hekdesh) and had to be ground up very finely[35] according to the art of the perfumer and must be thoroughly mixed one with the other.[34] It should be holy[34] meaning that it should be purchased from Hekdesh funds[36] When prepared properly the Ketoret became categorized as 'holy of holies'.[35]

The Ketoret was prepared annually in batches of 368 'mana' (480 grams / 1.06 pounds per 'mana', totaling 176 kilograms / 388.01 pounds)[35] that accounted for the 365 days of the leap year and an additional 3 'mana' used for the Yom Kipor services[35] Leftover portions of Ketoret from non leap years and from the varying hand sizes of the Kohen Gadal who served each year on Yom Kipor, were saved and once every 60 - 70 years only a 50% reduced annual batch of 184 'mana' was made.[35] It was permitted to produce the Ketoret in third or quarter sized batches as long as the ingredients were kept to the same proportions of the full batch.[35] When preparing the Ketoret, the grinder would say "grind well, become well ground". He would repeat this over and over during the entire time of grinding since speech was auspicious for a successful incense.[3] If even one the Ketoret's ingredients was missing or out of proportion,[35] the person who offered it was punishable by death.[3]

[edit] Ingredients

  1. Nataf - Balsam sap equaling 70 Mana (33.6 kilograms / 74.08 pounds).[3] Nataf is also called 'Tzari'[33] but since it is only the sap that drips (נוֹטֵף) from the balsam trees, it is called נָטָף[33]
  2. Shichelet - Onycha equaling 70 Mana (33.6 kilograms / 74.08 pounds).[3] It is the root of a spice, that is smooth and shiny as fingernails[33] and is therefore also called 'Tziporen'[33]
  3. Chelbona - Galbanum equaling 70 Mana (33.6 kilograms / 74.08 pounds).[3] This spice was a black type of tree sap[35] that had a horrid smell[33] and its inclusion comes to symbolize how Jewish sinners should also be included in gatherings of fasting and prayer and should be counted with us.[33] This is especially true considering that the Chelbona was one of the 4 main ingredients of the Ketoret.[3]
  4. Levona - Pure frankincense equaling 70 Mana (33.6 kilograms / 74.08 pounds).[3] This frankincense first had to undergo a purification process.[35] It is extracted by slashing the bark of the tree and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out and harden.[37]
  5. Muhr - Myrrh equaling 16 Mana, a resin extracted from a small thorny tree.[38]
  6. Kitza - Cassia equaling 16 Mana. When burnt, this spice can be smelled from far.[35]
  7. Shibolet Nerd - Spikenard equaling 16 Mana. This is a single ingredient[33] which is shaped like an ear of grain.[33]
  8. Carkum - Saffron equaling 16 Mana
  9. Koshet - Costus equaling 12 Mana, a white root with great fragrance, that can be smelled from far.
  10. Kelupha - Aromatic bark equaling 3 Mana
  11. Kinamon - Cinnamon equaling 9 Mana

[edit] Additional Ingredients

  1. Boris Karshina - 9 Kabin (around 8 kilograms / 17.64 pounds),[35] This was a form of soap originating from the city of Karshina. It was not an actual ingredient and was only used to clean and whiten the Tziporen - onycha so it should be beautiful.[33] This was needed since it would be black and dirty when extracted from the ground. It was then cleaned with the soap to prevent the dirt from ruining its good smell.[35]
  2. Yayin Kafrisin - 3 Sah and 3 Kabin (around 28 liter / 7.40 gallons),[35] a strong form of wine used to soak the Tziporen - onycha to strength its smell and help it travel further. Although soaking the Tziporen in urine instead would have strengthened it even more, it was not used since urine was not brought into the Temple out of respect.
  3. Chamar Chivar Atik - Aged wine that is neither white nor red.[35] This was brought in as a replacement when the Yayin Kafrisin wine could not be attained.
  4. Melach Sidomis - Salt from the Dead Sea[3] measuring a Rova. Just like all other sacrifices, the Ketoret also required salt.[35]
  5. Maleh Ashan - A secret herb that caused the smoke of the Ketoret to pillar up in a straight column, preventing it from billowing to the sides. Any minimal amount of this herb was sufficient to do the job.[35] The exact identity of this herb was a well guarded secret known only by a single family who would prepare the Ketoret.[3]
  6. Kipat Hayarden - A fragrant flower that grows near the banks of the Jordan River, any minimal amount does the job. This added element was only recollected in the tradition passed down to Rabbi Nassan HaBavli.

[edit] No Honey

As is the Ketoret produced a delightfully fragrant smell, where even a 'krotev' (around 5 grams) of honey[35] to be added to its ingredients the smell would have been greatly increased until it would have become overwhelming. Despite this it was forbidden to add honey to the Ketoret and doing so would disqualify its use in the Beit Hamikdash.[35] This was in accordance with the prohibition of sacrificing any honey or leaven to Hashem, since honey symbolizes unnecessary luxuries and leaven symbolizes haughtiness.[35]

[edit] 11 Ingediants

Although only 4 ingredients are mentioned openly in the verse it alludes to 11 which were taught to Moshe when he was at Har Sinai.[33]

  • סמים = Two (#1 & #2) because 'Samim - aromatics' is written in a plural form.[33]
  • נטף = One (#3)
  • ושחלת = One (#4)
  • וחלבנה = One (#5)
  • סמים = Five (#6 - #10) since it is written a second time when it is not needed, it comes to include the amount of all ingredients discussed so far to this point in the verse which are five.[33]
  • ולבנה = One (#11)

[edit] Exclusivity

It is forbidden to compound incense using the Ketoret formula for it is holy for Hashem and can only be created for His Name.[39] Anyone who clones the Ketoret with its exact ingredients[39] to smell it's fragrance, receives Karet and becomes cut off from his people. One is permitted to create a batch of Ketoret using his own ingredients with the intention of delivering it for use of the public[40] in the Mishkan Bais Hamikdash.

[edit] Daily Service

Twice each day[41] including Shabbat and holidays,[35] a Ketoret offering consisting of a half a 'mana' each,[35] was burnt on the inner Mizbeach Hazahav in the Ohel Moed[41] where appointments where Hashem spoke to Moshe were set up.[41] The morning Ketoret was offered following the cleaning of the Menorah lamps and the afternoon Ketoret was offered following the lighting of the Menorah.[35]

Since the burning of the Ketoret was auspicious for wealth and was therefore a much desired job, it was allotted via the use of a lotto. Any Kohen that won the job of burning the Ketoret was never given a chance to do so again.[42]

[edit] Yom Kippur Service

Each Yom Kippur the Kohen Gadol would a double handful of Ketoret in the Kodesh Hakadashim. There was not set amount for this offering and it was dependent of the hand-size size of the incumbent Kohen Gadol and how much he could hold with both hands cupped together.[43] To accommodate even the largest of hand-sizes, an additional 3 'mana' (1440 grams / 3.17 pounds)[3] of Ketoret were prepared extra each year for the Yom Kippur services.[35] On each Yom Kippur Eve, these 3 'mana' were taken and reground into an extremely fine powder.[35]

[edit] Reading the Ketoret

Each day the section of the Kitoret from Parshat Ki Tisa and its accompanying Briysot are read at the start of the Shachiris and Mincha services. Main sections of this recital are repeated at the end of the Shacharis prayers. Reading the Parsha of the Ketoret, aka as 'Pitum HaKitoret' is known as an auspicious segula for wealth, especially when read from a piece of parchment where it is written using the laws of writing a Torah scroll. Since many people lust for wealth, this has become one of the most well know and popular segulot.

[edit] Segulot of Ketoret

  • Gains a portion in This World and the World to Come[35]
  • Pushes death away from himself and the world[35]
  • Saves from all harsh judgments and illnesses[35]
  • Auspicious for curing the sick[35]
  • Saves from evil eye[35]
  • Saves from Gehinum[35]
  • Saves from punishments of other governments[35]
  • Causes great pleasure to Hasehm and is preferable to prayer[35]
  • Prevents all harm on days recited[35]
  • Gives a person grace in the eyes of all who see him[35]
  • Auspicious for an easy livelihood and wealth[35]
  • Nullifies bad thoughts[35]

[edit] Construction of Mishkan

[edit] Appointment of Betzalel

Hashem tell Moshe to appoint Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur from the tribe of Yehudah in charge of the Mishkan's construction. Hashem imbued Betzalel with divine spirit, wisdom, insight, knowledge and talent for all sorts of craftsmanship. He used his abilities to manage the master weaving, goldsmithing, silversmithing, copper work, gemstone setting and wood crafting.

Chur had sacrificed his life trying to prevent the sin of the golden calf. He now merited that his grandson lead the construction of the Mishkan whose main goal was to rectify that sin.[3]

[edit] Assistants

Betzalel was assisted in his job by a group of wise hearted men. Oholiav ben Achisamach, of the tribe of Dan served as his main assistant.

[edit] Tasks

Betzalel and his helpers created the main structure of the Mishkan as well as its vessels and associated items. These included;

  1. Tent of Meeting, its covers and all elements of the Tent
  2. Ark of testimony
  3. Table and all its accessories.
  4. Menorah and all its accessories.
  5. Altar of incense
  6. Altar for the burnt offering and all its accessories.
  7. Washstand and its base
  8. Meshwork garments
  9. Garments of Aharon and his sons
  10. Anointing oil
  11. Incense

[edit] Shabbat Warning

Despite the construction of the Mishkan, the Jews are warned to guard the laws of Shabbat. Those who desecrate it will be put to death. Whoever performs work on Shabbot, his soul will be cut off from the midst of its people. Shabbat serves as an eternal sign between Hashem and the Jews, that He created the heaven and earth in six days, resting on the seventh day.

[edit] Chet Haegel

[edit] The Luchos

After Hashem finished speaking with Moshe on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two stone tablets of the testimony, written with the finger of Hashem in His own inscription. Letters on the tablets were engraved and channels completely through. Yet despite this, regardless of which direction the tablets were looked at, miraculously they would be written in the correct direction.

[edit] Absence of Moshe

When the people saw that Moshe was late in coming down from the mountain they panicked. Their main mistake was their lack of full belief in the power of Moshe, that even after his passing his teachings were relevant and alive forever and they could maintain their connection to Hashem through him via his teaching and main students. They should have approached Aharon, Yehoshua or Chur and requested guidance from them.[44]

[edit] Hard Test

Each time a person transcends to a higher level he must first pass through the Klipot which serve as the shell of the next level. It then appears to him that he has suddenly fallen from all his levels. This is especially true when ascending to a really high level, whose exterior surrounding Klipot are very strong. If a person continues moving forward he will eventually break through and gain access to this upper level. Sometimes however a person fails to do so and instead falls, committing minor flaws that can lead to large sins, causing him to truly fall from his level.[45]

At the end of forty days, Moshe was supposed to come down and the Jews were to receive the Luchot and remainder of the Torah, ascending to an astonishingly high level. As they approached the moment, they had already began ascending and had reached the ferocious Klipot surrounding this level. So strong was the Sitra Ahcher on that day that it was almost impossible for anyone to nullify it aside from Moshe himself, who was not there.[46] It very hard and they failed to break through them, falling instead.[47]

[edit] Advice of Erev Rav

The leaders of the Erev Rav included Yunis and Yumbruce who performed ‘miracles’ using the ‘names of impurity’.[44] They started convincing the Jews with very sophisticated but fallen, crocked Torah teachings.[48] Humans have the power to sway a person to sin even in cases where the ‘Baal Davar’ himself cannot. During the receiving of the Torah, the Jews became completely disconnected from impurity and he did not have the power to make them sin directly himself, so instead he attacked them through the use of the Erev Rav.[49]

[edit] Request from Aharon

They gathered against Aharon, and requested that he create for them a god to replace Moshe, as they do not know what happened to him. Ahron had seen how Chur had been stoned to death upon protesting and feared they would kill him as well. He knew that were they to kill him, they would have no chance at all of attaining rectification[44] since he represented the concept of an ‘on duty priest’ whose murder would be far more severe, as was seen in the case of Zicharia ben Yehoyada.[3] Aharon asked them to gather the golden earrings from the ears of their wives, sons and daughters and bring them to him. Instead of gathering them from their family members, the people stripped off their own gold earrings and brought them to Aharon.

[edit] Creation of Golden Calf

Aharon took these from their hands, fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into a molten calf. The people then exclaimed "These are your gods, Nation of Yisroel, who have brought you up from the land of Egypt!"

When Aharon saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and proclaimed that tomorrow they will make a celebration. On the next day the people arose early, offered up burnt offerings, peace offerings and then sat down to eat, drink, and make merry.

[edit] The Calf

The left side of the Divine Chariot is held up by an ox. Therefore when they came to sin, the manifestation of the ox/calf was chosen from the four channels of the Chariot since the Yetzer Hara is rooted in manifestations of the 'Left Side'.[50]

[edit] Instructing Repentance for Public Sins

There were some people who had some power to protest but upon seeing the direction of occurrences, chose not to. Part of their calculation involved the realization that eventually the Jews would have to rectify this severe sin and that would set an example for all future generations, that even sins committed by masses could be rectified. If it worked for the severe sin of the golden calf that took place right after the receiving of the Torah, they can repent as well.[51] When a person is on a high level and constantly exerts effort to serve Hashem, then even if he happens to fall and actively seeks to sin, in the beginning he will be prevented and blocked from sinning by Heaven. The ‘generation of the desert’ was not fit for committing the Chet Haegel but were not granted any resistance by Heaven to prevent them from sinning, in order to instruct future generations that even sins committed by the public could be atoned.[52]

[edit] Briefing of Moshe

Hashem told Moshe to go descend, for the people that he had brought up from Egypt had acted corruptly. They had quickly turned away from the path that Hashem commanded them, creating for themselves a molten calf, prostrating themselves before it, slaughtered sacrifices to it, and referring to it as the gods that redeemed them from Egypt.

[edit] Annihilation Plan

Hashem tells Moshe that he has seen the Jews and they are a stiff necked people. He requests that Moshe leave him alone so His anger will be kindled and He can annihilate them. He then promises to replace them with Moshe and his descendants, making him into a great nation.

[edit] Pleading of Moshe

Moshe began pleading in front of Hashem to calm His anger. Moshe then points out that the Egyptians will then claim that Hashem just brought them out with evil intent of killing them in the mountains and to annihilate them from upon the face of the earth. Moshe then tried invoking the merit of the Avos; Avraham, Yitzchok and Yackov and the oath He swore them by His very Self made that that He would multiply their descendants like the stars of the heavens and that they would inherit Eretz Yisroel. Upon hearing this, Hashem reconsidered the evil He had said He would do to His people.

[edit] Descent of Moshe

Moshe turned and went down from the mountain, holding the two Luchos in his hand. On the way he met Yehoshua, who had been waiting for his master for the past 40 days, halfway up Mount Sinai. Yehoshua had heard sounds and commotion coming from the camp and assumed there was a battle taking place and these were cries of war. Moshe corrected him, informing him that they were neither sounds of victory nor sounds of defeat but rather sounds of blasphemy.

[edit] Breaking of the Luchos

As Moshe drew close to the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing before it. Moshe became enraged, he flung the tablets from his hands, shattering them at the foot of the mountain.

The root of the sin of the golden calf was their lack of belief in the Oral Torah, causing them to act upon their own corrupt interpretation of Moshe's statement, regarding when he would descend and their placing an intermediary between themselves and Hashem. By Moshe breaking the Luchos, he established; the Written Torah has no existence without belief in the Oral Torah. By denying the Oral Torah, the entire Written Torah is also nullified. By doing this; Moshe cut off any nourishment the Nations might have from the Written Torah, showing it has no completion without the Oral Torah.[53]

[edit] Eradication of the Golden Calf

Moshe took the golden calf, burned it in fire, ground it to a fine powder, then scattered it upon the surface of the water. He then gave the Jews to drink that water.

[edit] Accusation of Aharon

Moshe turned to Ahraon and demanded to know what the nation had done to him causing him to bring such a grave sin upon them. Aharon responded, telling Moshe not to be angry as he himself knew that the people are disposed towards evil. He then related how the people had approached him to create gods as replacement of Moshe and to lead them following his disappearance. After which he had requested gold, which they brought and he then threw into a fire which produced the emergence of the golden calf.

[edit] Mass Execution

Moshe saw that the people were exposed for Aharon had exposed them to be disgraced before their adversaries. He stood at the gate of the camp and requested all those that had not sinned to gather by him, calling out "Whoever is for Hashem, come to me". The entire tribe of Levi had not sinned and gathered by Moshe. He commanded them in the name of Hashem to girdle their swords and pass from one end of the camp to the other, killing all those that had sinned, including their friends, relatives and even half brother from the same mother. This was carried out by the Tribe of Levi and they executed 3,000 men that day. Through this the Levim became appointed as sub-priests giving them the ability to serve as assistants in the Mishkan and Beis Hamikdash.

[edit] Killing Brothers

Since the entire Tribe of Levi had not sinned, the command to kill their convicted brothers only applied to half brothers born from their mother who had remarried into a different tribe.[54] Although this was a rare occurrence, since there was a period during that generation where each woman gave birth to six kids at a time, even a few occurrences of such a situation produced many cases.[3]

[edit] Moshe Requests Forgiveness

On the morning following the 'sin of the calf', Moshe told the Jews that they had committed a grave sin and he will now go up to Hashem to see if he could obtain an atonement for this.

Moshe returned to Hashem and acknowledged that the Jews had committed a grave sin by creating a god of gold. He proceeded to request that Hashem forgive their sin and if He refused then, he Moshe should be erased from the Torah. Hashem responded that He would erase from the Torah only those that had sinned against Him. For now Hashem will postpone the punishment of their sin but on the day He makes an accounting, He will bring their sin to account against them. Moshe could continue to lead the Jews to Eretz Yisroel, however they will no longer be lead directly by Hashem, instead an angel will go before them. Both the destruction of the First and Second Temples were partially resulting from the Chet Haegel.[49]

[edit] Erased From Torah

Moshe told Hashem that if he does not forgive the Jews his name should be erased from the Torah. Although this self inflicted curse was conditioned on the materialization of the destruction which did not come to pass, a curse of a Tzadik must happen to some degree once uttered, even if it was dependent on a condition that was never fulfilled. Therefore Moshe's name is completely omitted from the Parsha of Tetzaveh, which is the only Parsha since his birth not to mention him by name and all references to Moshe are done in first person.

[edit] The Plague

Hashem then hits the nation with a plague.

[edit] Aftermath

Hashem tells Moshe to continue traveling with the Nation towards Eretz Yisroel which he swore to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yackov that He will give to their descendants. Hashem will drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Chittites, Perizzites, Chivvites, and the Yevusites. No longer the Jews to be led directly by Hashem. Instead he will send an angel before them. When the Jews heard this bad news, they mourned. Hashem tells Moshe to explain to them that it is better this way for they are likely to do something wrong since they are a stiff necked nation and if Hashem goes in their midst, He will destroy them.

The Jews then lost their finery and crowns that they had attained during the giving of the Torah.

[edit] Second Luchos

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d Rashi Shemos 30:12
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rashi Shemos 30:16
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Shover Zadim Parashat Ki Tisa
  4. ^ a b c d Likutay Halachos Hilchos Tzitzis 7
  5. ^ a b c d e Rashi Shemos 30:15
  6. ^ Baal Haturim
  7. ^ a b c d Likutay Halachos Hilchos Teffilin 6:24
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rashi Shemos 30:13
  9. ^ a b Rashi, Shemos, Pikuday 38:26
  10. ^ Rashi Shemos 30:14
  11. ^ Baal Haturim
  12. ^ Rashi
  13. ^ Ikar Sefsi Chachaim
  14. ^ Rashi
  15. ^ a b Rashi Shemos, Pikuday 38:27
  16. ^ Parshat Teruma
  17. ^ Rashi Pikoday Shemos 38:28
  18. ^ a b c Likutay Halachos Hilchos Tefilas Mincha 7:14
  19. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Shemos 30:18
  20. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 30:20
  21. ^ Rashi Shemos 30:21
  22. ^ Baal Haturim
  23. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 30:19
  24. ^ May Hashiloach Parshat Ki Tesisa
  25. ^ a b c d e Rashi Shemos 30:23
  26. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 30:25
  27. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 30:24
  28. ^ Rashi Shemos 30:26
  29. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 30:29
  30. ^ Rashi Shemos 30:31
  31. ^ a b c d e f Rashi Shemos 30:32
  32. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 30:33
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Rashi Shemos 30:34
  34. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 30:35
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Ketoret Sheet
  36. ^ Rashi Kepsuto Shemos 30:35
  37. ^ Wikipedia Frankincense
  38. ^ Wikipedia Myrrh
  39. ^ a b Rashi Shemos 30:37
  40. ^ Rashi Shemos 30:38
  41. ^ a b c Rashi Shemos 30:36
  42. ^ Mishna Yuma
  43. ^ Mishna Yuma
  44. ^ a b c Likutay Halachos Hilchos Basar Vichalav 5:22
  45. ^ Breslov Books
  46. ^ Likutay Halachos Hilchos Bircas Harach 4:33
  47. ^ Likutay Halachos
  48. ^ Likutay Halachos Hilchos Birkas Hamazone 5:4-9
  49. ^ a b Likutay Halachos Hilchos Chol Hamoed 4:4
  50. ^ Likutay Halachos Hillchos Yom Tov 5:1-3
  51. ^ Some Chasidish Sefer
  52. ^ Some Chasidish Sefer
  53. ^ Likutay Halachos - Choshen Mishpat - Hilchos Halvaha 4:9
  54. ^ Rashi
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