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Why should I care?

Friday, 18 February, 2022 - 12:44 pm

Last week I had a short pre Shabbat phone conversation with a friend that went something like this: “OK. Please share with me what this week’s parsha is about, and why I should care.”

Seems quite the challenge to take a document written thousands of years ago and make it relevant to 2022, but it was from the easiest things I did that day because that’s the definition of Torah: It’s an unchanging living document that remains relevant every single day, thousands of years later. Let’s apply the same expectation to this week’s parsha Ki Tisa - a rollercoaster of a narrative found seldom anywhere else in Torah.

It starts off on a high. Moshe received the two tablets from G-d after learning the entire Torah for forty days and nights on Mt. Sinai. These tablets represented the marriage contract between G-d and the Jews, and the relationship was perfect.

Then the Jews miscalculated Moshe’s return and succumbed to the temptation of idolatry by crafting and serving a golden calf a little over a month after experiencing the greatest divine revelation known to humanity. If the spiritual fall from grace was not enough, the Jews faced their gravest existential threat, because G-d was furious and decreed their immediate annihilation.

Ultimately Moshe heroically defended the Jews by smashing the tablets and  secured atonement for the sin. G-d instructed him to prepare another set of tablets and on Yom Kippur the case was closed. Our divine relationship was restored, stronger than ever before. If we survived that crisis, we could survive anything. 

This dramatic story is in fact the script of world history and destiny. In the beginning the world was a perfectly serene and peaceful divine garden. Then temptation and ego led humanity down a road of self indulgence and the world devolved into a chaotic jungle of billions of competing people jockeying for more money, fame or power leaving in their wake so much pain and suffering. Was creation a mistake?

This week’s parsha reveals that every worthwhile endeavor has a high-low-high narrative. Even if it started on a high note it will experience many tough challenges until it ultimately achieves its intended goal and purpose.

Don’t allow the rough and tumble of our world to demoralize you. It is meant to bring us to the era of the ultimate redemption through Moshiach when true peace and tranquility will reign for all. But this peace will be the result of our hard work in navigating the tough realities of life and learning to rise above our subjective temptations to work together in making our world a more divine place. We will own it this time.

Knowing the future is brighter than ever gives us the energy and momentum to do our part in making the end goal a reality. Increase in Torah learning, mitzvah observance and acts of kindness and together we will usher in the era of world perfection with Moshiach.

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