Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Torah Connection - Ki Tissa

A bit behind again, I'm afraid...

Ki Tissa is the chapter of the Golden Calf.  The Israelites have just witnessed all the miracles in Egypt and the splitting of the sea of reeds, and were eagerly awaiting Moses at Mt. Sinai, for him to bring the tablets of the covenant, inscribed with the very finger of G*d.  Alas, they were impatient, and in that moment created an idol for themselves.  Doesn't it always seem that we fall just at the moment we are about to win big?

So Moses sees this, breaks the tablets, then grinds the Golden Calf to a powder and makes the people drink a slurry of it.  Then he speaks to his brother Aaron - who was supposed to have been responsible, but instead participated actively in this act.

Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you that you have brought such great sin upon them?" 22 Aaron said, "Let not my lord be enraged. You know that this people is bent on evil. 23 They said to me, 'Make us a god to lead us; for that man Moses, who brought us from the land of Egypt — we do not know what has happened to him.' 24 So I said to them, 'Whoever has gold, take it off!' They gave it to me and I hurled it into the fire and out came this calf!"

Ugh! What a lying coward is Aaron!  This is the man destined to be High Priest?!  He is not even repentant!!!  He disavows all responsibility for the making of the idol, instead blaming the people for instigating it, and then incredibly contends that the calf sponaneously formed from the gold which was cast into the fire. 

This is reminding me of the exchange in Genesis Chapter 3 between G*d and Adam and Eve after they ate the apple.  There, too, G*d was asking for a brief period of patience, and was fully intending to offer the fruit of the Tree of Life to them upon the Sabbath (remember, this is all happening on the Sixth Day!), and they go and ruin it by breaking the one commandment they were given!  The dialogue which follows is likewise parallel to what we saw above:

9 The Lord God called out to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10 He replied, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." 11 Then He asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?" 12 The man said, "The woman You put at my side — she gave me of the tree, and I ate." 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done!" The woman replied, "The serpent duped me, and I ate." 
Interestingly, in both cases, G*d doesn't seem to care that his people are spineless and lacking integrity.  He punishes the transgression itself, and no more.  On the other hand, passing the buck doesn't get either Adam and Eve or Aaron and the Israelites off the hook.     

And what punishment is meted out?  Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden;  Aaron and the Israelites are sentenced to die out in the desert, so that only their children will enter the Promised Land. In boht cases, the punishment for impatience, mistrust, and idolatry is to be kept out of the Good Place.  Perhaps we can regain the Garden and the Promised Land by reversing these traits?  Perhaps the Good Place is precisely that state of being at one and at peace with the Divine Plan?

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