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The Weight of Gold – Erase Me!

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When I helped guide a young Christian business associate through a spiritual crisis, little did we know that it would result in a life-altering book. The Weight of Gold brings out the Torah’s universal messages for personal growth and social justice, showing that the Torah is indeed the User’s Guide to the human soul. Follow this blog each week for new insights into this ancient text. But the book through Amazon and in select bookstores. All profits from book sales will go to charity. See at: https://tikkunolam613.com

Parashat Ki Tissa

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life – longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If the purpose of a religious text is to cement its dogma in the hearts of its adherents and to strengthen their commitment with a straightforward depiction of the acceptable, versus the unacceptable, this week’s Torah portion so powerfully transmits its message of organized religion that it risks leaving us incapable of seeing its inherent dangers.

At the core of the portion is the sin of the Golden Calf. If the book of Genesis is a list of genealogies strung together by a narrative, the book of Exodus is concerned with the consequences of the Revelation at Sinai and the process of giving over the law. For all their drama, stories are generally not the point of the Torah. They serve to illustrate underlying concepts, and also emphasize the unpredictability of God’s supreme creation, the human being. But stories also appear to signal that God has not communicated clearly, or that we have not heard well.

If the book of Exodus were only about God conveying the law, it would be very short indeed, ending the moment when God gives Moses “stone tablets, inscribed by the finger of God” (Ex. 31:18.) But just as Genesis is about the family of Abraham coming to terms with the consequences of God’s covenant with their ancestor, the book of Exodus is awash in the disarray of a fledgling nation struggling to come to terms with a new form of covenant, one which embraces both the individual and the communal, the particular and the universal.

While Moses is on the mountaintop with God, the Israelites below are seized by panic. Like infants who shriek when their mother walks out of the room, the people assume that Moses will never come back. Desperate for a leadership figurehead, they create an idol, and the rest of the portion (chs. 32–34) is taken up with the Golden Calf and its aftermath.

But again, this portion is not “about” the Golden Calf; it is still part of the main narrative about the significant event of Moses receiving the Written Torah and learning its interpretation from the mouth of the........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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