(30:12) “Ki Sisa es Rosh Benei Yisroel- When you count the heads of Benei Yisroel.” Why should counting Israel cause a plague and how is using a trick helpful? They still are being counted even if it is indirectly? The Oznayim L'Torah writes that by all the laws of nature Klal Yisroel should not exist. From being born of barren mothers to being as a lamb among wolves logically they should not exist. We are above the laws of nature and therefore any counting though normal means is bringing us down to a natural existence. Only by means of the “half Shekel of the sacred Shekel” would they become uplifted above the physical laws of nature. This is the meaning of the words “L'chapeir al Nafshoseichem-to atone for their souls”
In this weeks parsha Moshe Rabenu brought down the Luchos. While he was on Har Sinai he wasn't able to remember the Torah he learned until Hashem gave it to him as a present. The Midrash says that the 40 days he spent there was compared to the 40 days an embryo takes to form. The fact that Moshe couldn't obtain the Torah until he was transformed from his physical state to a more spiritual state, was a time the Satan took advantage of and made an image of Moshe appear to be flying off into heaven dead. He took the physical Moshe that Moshe divested himself from and showed it to Klal Yisroel to make it appear as if he were dead. How could Hashem allow the Satan this much power? The answer is that since Klal Yisroel received a tremendous revelation when they stood at Sinai, there had to be an equal revelation of evil to balance out their bechira.
(30:15) “L’Chapeir Al Nafshoseichem-To atone for their souls.” Why does the Nefesh need atonement? When Hashem created man he blew life into him for the purpose of eternal life. He gave him power to acquire his physical needs. But if all of his energy is just to better his lifestyle he is going against the command not to “eat from the tree of knowledge.” Hoarding wealth represents the misuse of the mind. To make amends he must “atone for his soul” which had been perverted to the cause of acquiring wealth.
(32:7) Hashem tells Moshe "Lech Raid" (Go Down). Rashi says it means to go down from your exalted position.(Migadol) There are two letters that are enlarged in the Torah. The letter "Daled" in the word Echod and the letter "Reish" in the word Acheir. The reason they are enlarged is so that they aren't mistaken for each other which would cause the meanings to be reversed. Instead of "G-d is one" it would read G-d is another. And instead of "Thou shall not have other G-d's" it would read thou shall not have one G-d. Here after the Chet of the Eigel it would seem that there is no longer a need for this since in making the Eigel they were having other G-d's. So that is the meaning of Rashi in the words "Lech Raid". The letters of the word Raid are reish daled. Meaning now after the Chet these letters can be reduced from their enlarged state.
When the people began to complain about Moshe's being late they wanted a substitute for him. The verse states that Aaron saw what was going on. What did he see? The Midrash says he saw Chur, who tried to prevent Israel from sinning but wound up being stoned by them. That's why he decided to have them collect gold to make an Eigel. He thought by telling the men to take the gold from their wives that the woman would resist thus giving him more time for Moshe to come down. But even though the women didn't want to give their gold for an Eigel the men took it from them. Because of this the women of the midbar merited to live the entire 40 years of the midbar and enter Eretz Yisroel. They also were rewarded with Rosh Chodesh to be as a Yom Tov for women.
When they put the gold into the fire an Eigel came out by itself. How did this occur? When Moshe was back in Mitzraim he saw the Egyptians use Jewish children in place of bricks when they were short. He asked Hashem how He could let this happen. Hashem told him that all of these children were destined to grow up to do evil. He told him to pick one child to save. Moshe took Micha, whose name means crushed as in crushed by the bricks. As it turned out when Klal Yisroel were leaving Mitzrayim, Micha took the plate that was used by Moshe to raise the coffin of Yosef from the Nile. On it was written "Alei Shor-arise ox" referring to Yosef. Micha then threw this plate into the fire with the gold and the Eigel came out.
The question is what is the connection between Yosef and the making of the Golden Calf? We know that throughout Yosef’s life he was faced with incredible tests. His brothers sold him when he was merely seventeen years old. He was tempted repeatedly by the wife of his master for which he spent twelve years of his life in an Egyptian dungeon. But throughout all of this he remained faithful. How did he survive?
Kol D’oved Rachmana L’tav Oved-Everything Hashem does is for the good. This was the phrase that Yosef kept repeating whenever he was faced with adversity. The Gematria of the words Alei Shor is equal to Kol D’oved Rachmana L’tavv Oved-Everything Hashem does is for the good. On some level the making of the Eigel was also for the good. The Chet H’Eigel was the ultimate expression of this for we learned it that we can repent from even the most severe transgressions. Kol D’oved Rachmana L’tav Oved-Everything Hashem does is for the good.
After the chet there were three types of death through which Benei Yisroel were punished. One by the sword, the Leviim were told to go through the camp and kill those involved. One was through drinking of the mixture Moshe made from the ground up Eigel. And one from the plague that followed afterward. Each form of death was for a different degree of guilt. The first was for those who were involved after being warned and with witnesses. The second was for those warned but without witnesses. And the third was those involved but without either witnesses or warning.
The Meshach Chochma says if not for the chet of the Eigel no nation would have been able to take over Eretz Yisroel. That's why in this week’s parsha it adds when Benei Yisroel will be Oleh Regel no one will want to take over their land. But in Mishpatim where the mitzvah is originally stated it makes no mention of the security of the land. This is because the first time it’s mentioned was before the chet of the Eigel. So there was no need to mention it. But now after the chet they needed to know that the land would be secure.
(33:4) It says that Benei Yisroel did not put on their ornaments after hearing that Hashem would not dwell in their midst. In the very next posuk it says that Hashem told them to remove their ornaments? If they didn't put them on how could they now remove them? Oznaim L'torah answers that the first mention is referring to the gold and silver that they had left from the Egyptians which was not donated to make the Eigel. This they did not adorn in hopes of attaining atonement for having donated gold rings to make the Golden Calf. The next posuk refers to the crowns that were given to them after saying "Naseh Venishmah". Those they did not wish to remove on their own, for they thought doing so would distance them even further from Hashem.
(31:2) “Re’Aye Korosi B’shem Betzalel Ben Uri Ben Chur- See I have called in the name of Betzalel ben Udi Ben Chur.” There are three apparently extra words in this verse. First of all the word Reaye-see? What was Moshe meant to see? Next the word B’shem-the name, is not needed. Hashem simply calls Betzalel to step up. What does it mean to call the NAME Betzalel. And last the extra words are Ben Chur. The Torah usually mentions a name the son of so and so. The Torah does not usually mention a Grandfather in recalling a person’s name.
To answer the first two questions. Why the word “Reaye”? Because Moshe was shown the “Book Of Adam” in it was contained the names of every soul, every significant personality that was to emerge from Adom H’Rishon until the end of time. Hashem showed Moshe the NAME Betzalel which was a part of destiny from the beginning of time and this is why it uses the word B’shem. The answer to the last question of why the mentioning of the grandfather was necessary is because Betzalel’s grandfather Chur played a large part in Betzalel’s selection to build the Mishkon at the age of only thirteen. At the time of the sin of the Golden Calf, Betzalel’s grandfather Chur rose up to protest. He was killed. But his sacrifice was not in vain. By appointing Betzalel the grandson of Chur at the age of thirteen, everyone saw Hashem’s hand in it.
(31:16) "Veshomeru Benei Yisroel es Hashabbos Lasos es Hashabbos Lidorosum Bris Olam" What is the connection between Shabbos and the world (Olam). The Or Hachaim say's in Bereishis that the world was created with the ability to last only six days. Only through the merit of the Shabbosis was the world given the ability to continue for another six days. That's why it says Bris Olam because Shabbos is what keeps the world going.
There is also a Remez to this in the letters of the word Shabbos. There are three sins that a person must let himself be killed over. Avodah Zora,Idolotry Gilu Arayos-Promiscuity and Shefichas Damim.Murder In contrast to these three Hashem gave three mitzvos. Shabbos opposite Avodah zora. Tefilin opposite Shefichas Damim and Milah opposite Gilu Arayos. The letters of Shabbos are Shin=Shabbos, Beis=Bris Tuf= Tefilin.
(31:13) “Ose He L'Olam-A Sign for the world.” Shabbos is a sign between the Jewish people and Hashem. To this day we find that other religions use Friday or Sunday as their day of rest. Only Klal Yisroel have the Sabbath as a day of rest.
(31:18) “Vayitein el Moshe K’chalos L’dabaer ito Bhar Sinai Shnei Luchos H’aidus-When He finished speaking to Moshe on Har Sinai He gave him the two Tablets.” The posuk preceding the incident of the Eigel informs us that no sooner did Hashem finish speaking with Moshe on Har Sinai, than he gave him the two “Luchos of Testimony made of stone, on which the Divine finger had written.”
The Ramban asks why the Torah waits until after the parsha of the Eigel to complete the description? (32:15) “Vayereed Moshe min H’Har Ushnei Luchos H’aidus Byodo, Luchos Kisuvim M’shnei Evreihem Mizeh Umizeh- And Moshe came down from Mount Sinai and the Two Luchos of Testimony were in his hands, Luchos written on both sides.” The posuk adds that they were manufactured by Hashem himself and the writing was Hashem’s own writing. The Ramban answers that the latter posuk is coming to demonstrate the greatness of Moshe, in that he had made the decision to break them in spite of their divine origin. The Chizkuni explains that he broke them to prompt Yisrael to appreciate their loss. This also answers another question as to why Moshe brought the Luchos down in the first place if he intended to break them anyway? He could just have returned them to their Manufacturer? An additional explanation of this last answer could be why the Torah split the description of the Luchos into two parts. First it teaches us that Hashem let Moshe take the Luchos in spite of His knowledge that Yisrael were already worshiping the Eigel, because he wanted to let Moishe do as he saw fit with them. Moshe understood that had Hashem felt that they ought to remain in heaven he would not have given them to him in the first place. And the more detailed description was left for when Moshe entered the vicinity of the camp of Yisrael, so that they should realize their loss and do teshuvah.
R.Bachaye answers that Moshe realized that it was unnecessary to return the Luchos, when he saw the letters flying off from them. R.Bachaye applies the principal that a living person bears part of his own weight, but when the Neshama leaves the body it becomes heavier. The Luchos were likened to a body and the letters to a soul. When the letters left the Luchos they became too heavy for Moshe to bear.
But perhaps we can suggest another explanation. When Klal Yisroel were standing at Har Sinai to receive the Torah they were like Adom before the chet. Adom before the chet was on the level where the body and the soul both wanted the same thing. There was no need to cover the body as there was no difference between them. Body and soul were in harmony with each other. After the chet the body and soul wanted different things hence shame came into the world and the need for clothing. Klal Yisroel at Har Sinai were like Adom before the chet. They were worthy of receiving Luchos that were carved in heaven and written in heaven. Both the guf (the stone tablets) and the Neshama (the letters written by Hashem) came from the same source. Moshe felt that after the chet of the Eigel they no longer deserved this type of Luchos. They were no longer on that lofty level. Now they would receive the second Luchos. The second Luchos were still the writing of Hashem (the Neshama) but the tablets themselves (the Guf) were nonetheless carved out by Moshe.
The Luchos, which were one of the ten things created on thee eve of the first Shabbos,were written in stone to signify that the law is unchangeable, yet due to man's failings they were fated to not even last one day.
The first Luchos were placed in the Aaron alongside the second set as a reminder of the goal we must strive towards. The two Cheruvim were placed on top as an image of the past with a hope towards the future. They are two innocent and naked children that represent Adom and Chava before the chet. This is the goal, to return to that innocence, to get back to the garden.
The tablets were Equal in measurement but one had more words than the other. This was appropriate as the attribute of justice receives its input from the attribute of mercy. Hashem's name is written on every commandment on the first tablet but the second tablet doesn't mention Hashem's name even once. However there are 26 words on the second tablet alluding to the name of Hashem. (R.Bechaya)
(32:20) "Vayikach es HoEigel Asher asu Vayisrof-He took the Eigel that they made and burnt it." The Sifsei Kohen writes that Moshe burnt the Eigel with the radiance emanating from his face.
(34:30) “Vayar Aharon V’chol Benei Yisroel es-Moshe V’hinei Koren Ohr Panav-Aharon all of the Children of Israel saw Moshe and behold his face radiated.” Why is it that we don’t find Moshe’s face radiating after the first Luchos were given? The answer to this can be found when we examine another question. The first Luchos were entirely made in heaven, made by Hashem, written by the finger of G-d. The second Luchos were a combination of man and G-d, carved out by Moshe but also written by G-d. However we find that the first Luchos barely lasted one day before they were destroyed. While the second Luchos remain intact to this day? We would think that something entirely divinely created would be more likely to endure?
Herein lies one of the foundations of the Man-G-d relationship. Initially everything is given as a gift by Hashem. But then it is taken away and only returns after some human input or effort is done. This is referred to as the awakening from above and the awakening from below. Itaruta de-l’eyala and Itaruta de-letata. The awakening from above changes nature but not human nature. When man invests his own initiative, his own effort, the change becomes a part of him. The first Luchos were miraculous but contained no human effort. There was nothing to keep them grounded. They were totally from heaven and therefore returned to heaven with the slightest nudge. The second Luchos on the other hand, were carved by Moshe from his own personal quarry. Through human effort they became grounded.
But this human input also changes man. When man takes the initiative, something inside of him changes. They now know more about what their capabilities are. When Moshe received the first Luchos he was passive. Nothing in him changed. For the second Luchos he was active having a share in its creation. He carved out the stone tablets on which Hashem’s words were engraved. This changed him to the extent that his face shone.
The awakening from below is more powerful than the awakening from above in that the affects are long lasting. This is why the second Luchos remained intact while the first did not. Hashem’s contact with man is powerful, it changes nature. But it is human effort that changes us. (R.J.Sachs)
The generation that came out of Mitzraim completed the world with their birth as a nation. In doing this they were a tikun (correction) for many previous generations. They were a tikun for the "Dor Hafloga" of which it is written the Dor Hafloga wanted to build a tower to challenge Hashem. They used “chomer and levanim" bricks and mortar to build the tower. The same words are used when the Egyptians forced Benei Yisroel in slave labor. "Chomer and Levanim". Their sacrifice was a tikun (correction) for that generation. They were also a tikun for the “Dor Hamable". The waters of destruction are called "Mey Noach". The reason is because Noach was the leader of his generation. When Hashem said he wanted to destroy everyone he should have tried to pray on their behalf. Since he didn't the waters of destruction are named after him. Moshe on the other hand, when told that Hashem wanted to destroy his generation said “Mochainy nah Mesifricha” erase me from your book. The letters of “Mochainy” (erase me) are the same as “Mey Noach.”(the waters of Noach)
(32:32) “Mochieny Nah M’Sifricha Asher Kosovtah-Erase me from your book that you have written.” Moshe Rabeinu pleaded with Hashem not to destroy Klal Yisroel. His final plea was this statement of “erase me from your book." Hashem did forgive Klal Yisroel but Moshe’s statement was fulfilled at least in part. His name was erased from one parsha of the Torah. As we know Moshe’s name is not found in last week’s parsha. The question is why that parsha? One answer given is that Hashem was reluctant to remove his beloved servant’s name from His Torah. He therefore pushed it off week after week. Until parshas Tetzaveh for it is the last parsha before we come across Kisisa again.
Another way of reading the words“Mochieny Nah M’Sifricha” is “M'sefer-Chuf-from the twentieth chapter” Tetzaveh is the 20th chapter in the Torah. Additionally the words
"Mochieny Nah M’Sifricha Asher" the word Asher equals 501 the same as the word Tetzaveh saying erase me from the Sefer 501.(Tetzaveh)
The holiday of Purim is so named because of the lottery that was made to determine which day was best suited to destroy the nation of Israel. (3:7) “Hipiel Pur Hu H’gorel-They cast a lottery.” Haman took three dice, on each of the six sides were inscribed the Hebrew letters Aleph thru Vav., arraigned so that all opposing numbers added up to seven. Thus, opposing faces respectively had the pairs 1-6, 2-5 and 3-4. The dice used by Haman had the Hebrew letters inscribed for the numbers, so that the pairs were Aleph-Vav, Beis-Hey, Gimmel Dalet. Haman did this on the first day of Nissan (3404) Providence made it come out on this month a time for redemption for Israel. On the first throw they came out 1-3-3. The Hebrew letters were Alef-Gimmel-Gimmel. This obviously spelled Haman’s ancestor's name Agag. Then Haman turned over the dice to see which letters had been on the bottom. They were Daled-Vav-Daled. Which spelled Dovid. Haman took this as a sure sign that Agag would end up on top. He then cast lots for the month and day to ascertain that fortune was truly smiling on him. He therefore made slips of paper containing the names of the twelve months. Another set containing the numbers 1-354, one for each day of the Lunar year. He then made two separate drawings, one for days and one for months. If the two would coincide he would know that the drawing was truly fortuitous. As it turned out the month was Adar and the number chosen was 337 the thirteenth day of Adar.
Haman was ecstatic that the month chosen was Adar for that was the month which contained the death of Moshe Rabeinu. At first Haman was somewhat perturbed. It would have been better had the day been the seventh of Adar not the thirteenth. But he realized that the 13th was the day upon which the seven days of mourning for Moshe ended. During those seven days Israel would have the merit of mourning such a great individual. Once the seven days were over they had the loss but not the merit. In addition this was the day of the plague of Darkness was brought upon the Egyptians. During this period many wicked and unfaithful Jews died. It would again be a time of death for the Jews.
But what Haman did not know was that even though Moshe was also born in Adar, it was his self sacrifice that saved Klal Yisroel . When Moshe said “Im Moein Mocheini Nah M’sifricha- If you refuse to pardon Israel Erase e from your Sefer Torah.” It was this statement that became the turn-around for Israel years later. In fact the words “V'Im Moein Mocheini Nah M’sifricha- If you refuse to pardon Israel Erase me from your Sefer Torah.” are equal to the words “Hipiel Pur Hu H’gorel-They cast a lottery.”(667)