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This Week's The Torah Portion: "Ki Tissa"


The Israelites have encountered G-d at Mount Sinai and have heard the opening words of the Ten Commandments: "It is I Who brought you out of slavery; you shall no longer worship idols of anything in the sky, on the earth, or in the water..." Moses remains atop the mountain for 40 days to commune with G-d. He descends the mountain and discovers, to his dismay, that the people have been worshipping a golden calf! Heartbroken, Moses shatters the Tablets containing the Ten Commandments. G-d suggests to him that the Israelites be replaced by a worthier nation.

But Moses, ever the faithful leader, spends the next 40 days imploring G-d not to reject Israel. G-d at last relents and forgives the people. Moses then ascends Mount Sinai, and spends an additional 40 days there, in preparation for the second set of Tablets. He descends with the second set, 120 days after the Israelites first encountered G-d. What day was it when Moses returned, holding the symbol of G-d's forgiveness? It was none other than the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Forgiveness.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

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