Torah portion: Ki Tissa
Ex 30:11 – 34:35
Ki Tissa is Hebrew for “When you
raise” from an idiomatic expression for taking a census (raising the head).
Summary: Moses is to take a census of
the people by collecting a half shekel per person, regardless of the wealth of
the person. Rich and poor alike pay
the same. The money is
to be used for the tabernacle. YHVH
instructs Moses to build a brass washing bowl for Aaron and his sons to wash
their hands and feet before doing service, or to cause smoke on the altar with
the animal sacrifices. Moses is also
instructed to use various spices for anointing oil to sanctify the various holy
vessels in the tabernacle. YHVH
also instructs Moses how to make incense for the incense altar.
YHVH appoints Bezalel and Oholiab as the chief artisans for the
tabernacle. YHVH repeats the
instructions for the Children of Israel to keep the Sabbath.
Violation of the Sabbath is a capital offense.
Moses receives the 10 Commandments on stone tables, written with the
finger of Elohim. Moses is so long
in coming down from Mt Sinai that
the Children of Israel demand that Aaron (Moses’ brother) create a god to lead them.
Aaron makes a golden calf and a sacrificial altar for it.
YHVH tells Moses that he will
destroy the Children of Israel and give him another people to lead.
Moses tells YHVH to turn away his wrath, repent, and remember the
covenant with the ancestors. YHVH
repents. Joshua tells Moses that the
sounds coming out of the camp are noises of war.
Moses said that it was revelry. When
Moses approaches the camp, he gets angry, smashes the stone tables with the 10
Commandments, grinds them into powder, mixes it with water, and makes the people
drink it. Moses instructs the
Levites to kill the idolaters – they kill 3000 men.
YHVH instructs Moses to move forward, lead by an angel, and He will drive
out those in Canaan. When
Moses goes into the tent of meeting a cloud descends and the population stands.
In a further conversation with Moses, YHVH tells him that he cannot see
face and live, but that YHVH will put Moses in the cleft of the rock and cover
him, such that Moses can see His back but not his face.
YHVH tells Moses to cut two new stone tablets like the first.
YHVH also recites what are known as the 13 Attributes of G-d, which deal
primarily with G-d’s mercy. Moses
then re-receives the 10 Commandments with another 10 (which may be expansions of
the early versions). Moses descends
Mt. Sinai with his skin radiating horns of light.
Moses then keeps his face covered unless he speaks with G-d.