Ki Tisa

Ki Tissa: With the People

February 22, 2019 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“G-d declared to Moshe, Go down [from the mountain] for the people whom you brought out of Egypt have become corrupt” (Shemot 32:7). What is the role of a leader? What are his responsibilities? Can he, should he be held responsible for the actions of his followers even if he is not to blame? The Torah’s answer is unequivocal. A leader is judged by the actions of his flock. When his followers fail, the leader must find a...
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Ki Tissa: The Spoken Word

March 02, 2018 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“G-d said to Moses, ‘write these words for yourself, since it is through these words (ki al pi hadevarim) that I have made a covenant with you and Israel’" (Shemot 34:27). After 80 days, Moshe had succeeded in convincing G-d to not destroy the Jewish people despite their violation of the second of the aseret hadibrot. The Jewish people would be given a second chance. Yet forgiveness is not enough. For...
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Ki-Tissa: Where is Moshe

March 17, 2017 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
The mark of a great leader is the ability to inspire others—even in their absence. A great company operates at peak efficiency even when the CEO is on vacation, just as a great school functions smoothly even if the principal is away. Similarly, a parent’s role is to raise children so that they will become independent. When children and grandchildren embody the values of their ancestors long after they have passed away, we see the mark of a truly...
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Ki Tissa: Mountain Climbing

February 26, 2016 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
“Why should Egypt be able to say that You took them out with evil intentions, to kill them in the mountains and wipe them from the face of the earth?” (Shemot 32:12) Only forty days after experiencing the Divine, the Jewish people had built a golden calf, violating the very essence of revelation and rendering it meaningless. Their fate seemed sealed as G-d told Moshe, “do not try to stop Me when I unleash my wrath against them...
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Ki Tisa: The Golden Garden

March 01, 2013 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"And the people saw ki boshesh Moshe, that Moshe delayed in coming down from the mountain" (32:1). As a young nation coming from a hedonistic society that had many gods, the transition to a monotheistic people living a disciplined life was not (and is not) an easy one. They needed lots of 'hand-holding' as they matured as a people, and were paralyzed with their leader away. The people wanted a...
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