Ki Tisa - weekly Torah portion

Moses goes up the mountain and does not return for many days. The people are restless, the leader is missing and gossip, I am sure, floods the camp. Oddly, though the gold was supposedly generously donated for the building of the tabernacle, enough of it was left with the Israelites to allow them to provide gold following Aron’s call, and “all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.” Aaron may have well been surprised by all that gold being provided to him, but nevertheless he takes that gold “and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf”. The People are certainly excited about this piece of art and they said “This is your

Truma - weekly Torah portion

Moses is commanded, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.” Then there appears a lengthy list of items that should be brought as donations. These include, “gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece.” Certainly an impressive list of items for a People who have hastily left Egypt and had them with them in the desert. This contribution has to serve a very specific cause, “co

Mishpatim - weekly Torah portion

The Ten Commandments, important as they may be, are not sufficient by themselves to provide for a desired social structure. Surely they are supreme guidelines but eventually the People need some more practical directions, those that connect to every day’s life. Not only as so overall principles but solutions for concrete cases. Sometime one can learn from those examples and derive understandings for other cases and so decide what the proper conduct is. It allows to take an example from our reading of this week and apply it wisely on a similar case. Sometimes the result is deterministic and final, “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death”. There are no background

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