Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Patience Is A Virtue- Parashat Ki Tisa

As a society, I think that we all get a bit impatient.  We want things when we want them, and as soon as possible.  Instead of exerting a little patience, we tend to get frustrated when things don’t go our way.  Haven’t we been taught “Good things come to those who wait?” and “Patience is a virtue”.  Not only does it teach us discipline, but also to appreciate the things that we do have.
This week’s Parashat, Ki Tisa, includes the instructions for taking a census, instructions to make the Washstand, Anointing Oil and the Incense for the Mishkan, the portable Sanctuary, and also appointing Bezalel and Ohaliav to head up the architects and craftsmen for the Mishkan on Shabbat.  It is incredible what care they took in building that desert Sanctuary.  The portion continues with the infamous story of the Golden Calf. It's quite a lesson in anger management.  We find the people camped below Mt. Sinai.  Moses has been on top of the mountain for nearly 40 days and the people were already looking for a replacement for him.  All at once, they lose patience and faith and demand a visible sign of God’s presence in their midst. In fact, the Israelites were now being referred to by God as "your people", rather than "my people", as they were throughout their experiences in Egypt. Was God saying to Moses, "They're your problem now" ?

   The Israelites had had it, and wanted Aaron to help them build a golden calf, the epitome of what was just forbidden by the second commandment.  Was this an unreasonable request or merely a sign of insecurity?  Was the golden calf really an idol representing a god or just a visible means of connecting to God?  Sometimes, we find it all too easy to go from being spiritually high to falling into despair.
When we live our lives without God in it, we end up with golden calves.  When we bring God into our lives, we have the glory of the Mishkan.

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