Parashat Ki Tisa, Trust in the Lord for Your Salvation


This week’s reading from Parashat Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35) the Lord instructs Moshe to take a census of the people (30:12) and then each person is to give a ransom for himself to the Lord when they are numbered.  The purpose is so the plague will stop from among them (יב   כִּי תִשָּׂא אֶת-רֹאשׁ בְּנֵי-יִשְֹרָאֵל לִפְקֻדֵיהֶם וְנָתְנוּ אִישׁ כֹּפֶר נַפְשׁוֹ לַיהוָֹה בִּפְקֹד אֹתָם וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה בָהֶם נֶגֶף בִּפְקֹד אֹתָם:).  The ransom is a half shekel as a Terumah (contribution) to the Lord.  The people who are to give a contribution are 20 years old and older, and when the contribution is made they are to make atonement before God (30:16).  The money is supposed to make atonement before God.  The instruction to make the bronze laver and place it between the altar and the tent of meeting is given (30:17-18).  The washing of water is required so the priests do not die when going before God.  The instruction is given to make the perfume that is to be used as incense within the tabernacle (30:23-33).  This perfume that is also mixed with oil is holy and it is used to anoint the priests and the holy things in the Mishkhan (tabernacle).  God says that this is used specifically for the temple service, anyone using it for any other purpose as a perfume is to be cut off from the people (30:35-38).  God tells Moshe that He has chosen specific people for the construction of the priestly garments and the holy things in the Mishkhan (31:1-11).  The people then saw that Moshe was a long time on the Mountain of Sinai (32:1) and asked Aharon to make gods for them to worship.  Aharon took gold from the people and made a golden calf and the people sinned before God before the Mountain of Sinai (32:2-6).  God tells Moshe to go down for the people have sinned making themselves a molten calf.  The Lord God then desires to kill the people for their sins.  Moshe reminds the Lord of the covenant promises He had made to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov (32:7-13, יג   זְכֹר לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיִשְֹרָאֵל עֲבָדֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לָהֶם בָּךְ וַתְּדַבֵּר אֲלֵהֶם אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲכֶם כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם וְכָל-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי אֶתֵּן לְזַרְעֲכֶם וְנָחֲלוּ לְעֹלָם:).  At this point Moshe descends from the mountain and sees the people’s sin, he destroys the two tablets of God’s Mitzvot (Commandments) (32:14-19).  Moshe took the golden calf, ground it into fine powder and mixed it with water and caused the children of Yisrael to drink it.  Moshe questions Aharon and Aharon recounts what happened.  Then Moshe instructs the Levites to kill those who were responsible for this (32:23-28).  Moshe tells the people to dedicate themselves to the Lord as he returns in an attempt to make atonement for their sins (32:29-30).  Moshe asks to be blotted out of God’s book of life if He will not forgive the people (32:31-34).  As a result of these things, Moshe set up the Mishkhan outside of the camp of Yisrael and called the place the “Tent of Meeting” (Ohel Moed, אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד) (33:7).  Moshe would arise and go to the Ohel Moed and the people would watch, and when Moshe entered the Ohel Moed the puller would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent and the people would worship at their tents (33:8-11).  The scripture says that Yehoshua (Joshua) would not depart from the Ohel Moed.  Moshe then speaks to the Lord requesting that His presence come with the Children of Yisrael (33:12-17).  Moshe then asks to see God’s Glory (33:18) and God tells Moshe that he cannot see His face or he would die (33:20).  The Lord requests that Moshe come to the mountain in the morning, and then the Lord shows Moshe His glory and declares who He is, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, loving, and having grace forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin for thousands (34:6-7).  God commands that the gods of the Promised Land be torn down and the command of the Pesach festival is to be observed (Feast of Unleavened Bread).  The first fruits of the ground are to be brought into the house of God and a young goat is not to be boiled in its mother’s milk (34:26).  Read More here.