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March 2, 2024: Parashah Torah Portion Ki Tissa

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Ki Tissa is taken from Exodus 30:11-34:35. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he reveals and warns through the infamous golden calf incident that if we live spiritually outside the boundaries of Torah it leads to paganism and idolatry! This means saying yes to ADONAI and no to this world!

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Torah Portion:

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Ki Tissa is taken from Exodus 30:11-34:35

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Ki Tissa - Exodus 30:11-34:35

The children of Israel have no idea what Elohim has planned for them.  They had experienced some very exciting miracles and they were on a spiritual high…but what goes up must come down.  It is easy to go from a spiritual high into sin and disobedience when the excitement lifts.  We are sometimes spiritual thrill seekers…hoping to live from moment to moment, miracle to miracle, and mountain top to mountain top moments.  If we want true success, we need to stay on level routes, avoiding the peaks and dips.


We need to work on the simple day-to-day disciplines of faith.  In Ex. 32:1-4 they began to do their own thing; worshipping their own way; worshipping Elohim from their own reasoning and when we do that we wind up with golden calves!  As we read the Torah, regarding the golden calf incident, it is not by coincidence that this incident is in conjunction with the instructions of the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle represents Elohim‘s way of doing spirituality and the golden calf represents man’s way of doing spirituality.  Both Elohim and Israel were trying to create a medium where Elohim could be worshipped and their relationship be celebrated.  The golden calf was a poor representative (substitute) for the glory of the Tabernacle.


Aaron didn’t know that Elohim had chosen to make him high priest over Israel.  When the people ask him to make a golden calf, he took the role of priesthood himself.  If he had waited on Moses to return, he would have learned that Elohim had chosen to install him as priest in the Tabernacle. Israelites didn’t know Elohim had ordered them to raise a contribution of gold and precious materials for the Tabernacle.  If they had waited, Moses would have told them but instead Aaron told them to donate the gold for the idol.  Israelites were to fashion the furnishings of the Tabernacle instead they fashioned “the idol” with a graving tool and made a calf (ex. 32:4). They were to build a bronze altar for burnt offerings and a golden altar for incense but Aaron built an altar in front of the calf. They were to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings instead (Ex. 32:6) they offered it to the idol.  The Tabernacle was to be a place of Divine Presence, invisible Presence, instead the people made a visible, idolatrous representation of Elohim.


All things that Israel desired; Elohim had already planned to give them!  We are spiritual people and yet without revelation our spiritual inclination is merely an appetite that cannot be satisfied (John 6:35).  To understand the golden calf, we need to understand idolatry.  The children of Israel didn’t believe the idol was a god but that it was the physical representation of the spiritual power of that god.  The deities’ power and essence were thought to be captured within the idolatrous image. 


The children of Israel were not worshipping a golden calf, but rather the golden calf was meant to represent Adonai.  They knew Elohim was not a golden calf, but they imaged that He could be worshipped through the medium of the idol.  The calf was a physical token of Him, one they could take along and keep before them as they came to the Promised Land.


It's not that Israel rejected Elohim; it is that they simply allowed their spiritual impulses to go unchecked!  If we live spiritually outside the boundaries of Torah it leads to paganism and idolatry!  We have a tendency to disregard Torah when it stands in the way of our spiritual inclinations!  Our way not His way!


As they pursued their spiritual desires over the rule of the law of Torah, Israel stumbled into idolatry.  Faith is not measured by our good intentions.  If it were merely the thought that counted, the Israelites would not have been punished for constructing the image.  Surely their hearts were in the right place?  Surely, they had in mind only the worship and honor of Adonai?  However, it is not merely the thought that counts in faith and observance; it is the deed and action which arise from thought.


Listen… being leaders is hard!  We can fail for two reasons: External: despite best efforts life happens!  Internal: lack of courage to lead.  Sometimes we have to oppose the crowd.  We have to say No to everyone saying yes…that can be terrifying!


Crowds have a will and momentum of their own and to say no may put your career, life, relationships, and family security at risk.  This is when courage is needed!  In the I Samuel 15 narrative of Saul, Samuel and the Amalekites…no one or thing was to be spared.  Saul makes excuses and puts his failure on his soldiers and added with his good intentions to sacrifice to Adonai the best of the sheep and cattle.


Because of Saul’s disobedience and his rejection of the Word of Adonai he was rejected as king.  There are leaders who follow instead of leading like a dog on a leash.


Let’s go back to Aaron…Moses is gone 40 days and the people are afraid because Moses was their point of contact with Elohim.  So, they mess up and Elohim becomes angry and Moses pleads to save the people and then descends the mountain (Ex. 32:1-4). Ex. 32:22-24 reveals that Aaron blames the people…he becomes the victim, not the perpetrator.  We see how the story unfolds! 


Elohim’s justice and grace is represented in this narrative.  Grace was motivated by the sincere heart of Moses who loved the people and Aaron.  Let me give you something to think about:  Aaron became known as a man of peace and was the first high priest but where Aaron earlier failed was that he took on a role that wasn’t his or wasn’t called to be.  Aaron failed when he was called on to be a Moses, but he became a great leader in his own right in a different capacity.  Aaron and Moses complemented one another…no one person can do everything!


There is a lot to learn from this Torah portion.  We need to make our stand and say yes to Adonai and no to this world.  If we fail sometimes…His grace can pick us up.  However, we must not be afraid of the majority, our actions and deeds make our faith come alive and we become an example to this world.  Don’t try to walk in another’s gift that’s not yours,  and let us get rid of the golden calf we have erected in our lives.  Let us be pleasing to Adonai because we do what He wants instead of pleasing our own spiritual inclinations!


Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,


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Walk in the power of your calling.  Arise and shine and worship the King!  Follow in His footsteps and tear down every golden calf idol that you have erected in your life.  It is time for the bride to make herself ready!  Blow the shofar and sound the alarm!  Lift up your voice and prepare the way of Adonai…even if you are the only one!


Shalom Aleichem






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