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Our imperfection is the source of our blessing

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Wholeness does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.

Parker J. Palmer

The sin of the Golden Calf, and in its aftermath, the smashing the tablets was a low point in our history and at least initially leaves us perturbed with more questions than answers.

How could the Jewish people do it? How could Moses do it?

From the Zenith in Jewish history of Receiving the Torah and Sinaic revelation, only forty days later saw the Jewish people in an act of seeming betrayal worshipping a Golden Calf. How did they descend to idolatry?

For our fledgling nation in its infancy, the Jewish people felt totally dependent on something outside themselves to channel their faith. The Kuzari suggested, that among the nations of that era physical forms and symbols functioned as focal points for prayer and meditation similar to our Synagogues today. When Moses failed to appear, they reasoned, let us serve something tangible like the other nations without denying God, who took us out of Egypt.

According to the Kuzari, worshipping the Golden Calf was not a severe sin in and of itself. He proves this, by pointing to the fact that only 3000 people were killed as a result. During all this time neither the miracles of the Manna, the pillar of smoke nor prophecy ceased to exist, for the Israelites their only sin was envisioning God by means of a form without being commanded to do so.

Building on the approach of the Kuzari,........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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