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Ki Tisa(Exodus 30:11-34:35)

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Parshat Ki Tisa tells of the building of the Golden Calf. The obvious question is: How could the Jews have done such a thing? They had just witnessed God orchestrating the Ten Plagues, and seen the Red Sea miraculously split. Who in the Israelite camp would so quickly turn to idolatry?

Here's what happened: For hundreds of years, the Jews were lowly slaves in Egypt, abused and ridiculed. Then with the Ten Plagues, things turned around and 3 million Jews walked out of Egypt in broad daylight!

When the Jews left, a small group of Egyptians jumped on the bandwagon and attached themselves to the Jewish camp. This group is known as the "mixed multitude," the Eirev Rav. Since they were not integrated into the Jewish people, the Golden Calf was their opportunity to start a revolution ― however self-destructive it may be.

The kabbalists explain that this energy of the mixed multitude parallels the inclination inside each of us to move away from God. We're frustrated because things aren't going exactly the way we'd like. So we get angry and rebel. And that's the worst mistake. Because in fact the highest level of our human expression is to use free-will to discover God ― amidst our trials and tribulations.

So what's the key to fighting this self-destructive tendency? To recognize that it is a foreign entity, just like the mixed multitude. Because at the core, our purest desire is to serve God ... in every way.

March 11, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Anonymous, March 17, 2017 10:40 AM

Amen! Excellent article and very well written! Thanks for posting!

(4) Anonymous, February 23, 2016 1:53 PM

Great article! Thanks for posting!

(3) Anonymous, March 6, 2015 1:15 PM

Great article and very relevant to my life right now. Thanks for posting this!

(2) Anonymous, March 10, 2013 4:13 PM

It is deeply refreshing to read this Torah related article, and specially about Moses and the Golden Calf. I have just read this morning a disturbing article, about a new "Saint Death" devoted community expanding in different parts of the world, that is becoming very popular in the United States, and Mexico, and how people are believing in this strange dressed skeleton. How easy it is for a certain group of individuals to forget about Hashem and the nutritious elements that the Torah provides, in exchange for a dark and discouraging world. Perhaps this "mixed multitude" applies in this case. Thank you very much Rabbi Shraga for an excellent article.

(1) Patti Jenkins, February 18, 2008 7:23 PM

Service is the least we can give to HaShem!

In our world there are so many things I dont understyand !I cant wait to ask the heavenly father about.But one thing I know for SureI belong to Him and not the other way around. service is the least h

I am sure that there are many questions I will ask HaShem.But one thing I know for sure service is the least of all the living God has asked of us in this crazy world we live in shalomp.j.

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