Thursday, March 16, 2006


We have arrived to the most famous infamous part of the entire Torah: the sin of the Golden Calf. This parasha however is a diamond in the rough and a gold mine for Dvar Torah topics which have been sorely lacking in the other portions. It is filled with narative and the quirky hyjinks of the Israelitish people that we haven't seen in a couple of weeks. This portion is stuffed and If I wasn't so exhausted I would go into greater detail and would also not sound so grammatically deficient.

Following the Revelation at Sinai on Shavuot (6th of Sivan), Moses ascends to heaven to receive it in written form for 40 days and 40 nights. When the people see on the 16th of Tammuz that he has not come down after these 40 days, they panic and are convinced to build a golden calf. Moses becan counting from dawn the next day (the 7th of Sivan), not from when the Torah was given but rather when Moses ascended to heaven, so when he returned when his 40 days were up on the 17th of Tammuz 2448, he shattered the tablets. It may seem that Moses is angry here, and he indeed is, but he also is the voice of reason against God. God tells Moses that he will destroy the nation and make a great nation out of Moses. Moses demands that God relents. God said, "I pardoned according to your word". He teaches Moses the Thirteen Attributes to say in times of trouble. Notice that the content of this is words, not through any epiatory sacrifice.

I was reading the Book of Hosea last Shabbos afternoon and noticed a very interesting quote:
"קחו עמכם דברים ושובו אל ה' אמרו אליו כל תשא עון וקח טוב ונשלמה פרים שפתינו", "Take words with you and return to God. Say to Him, forgive all sin, accept good, and instead of bulls we will pay [the offering of] our lips" -Hosea 14:3. This seems to be a polemic of sorts against sacrifices and seems to support prayer over korbanot.

It seems that prayer is valued over sacrifice. Make your own judgements...

Shabbat Shalom,

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