web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Parshas Ki Sisa: ‘Don’t Panic’

Staum-030912

Klal Yisroel stood at Har Sinai and accepted the Torah in a state of supreme purity and complete unity. Every Jew reached a level of prophecy and witnessed an unparalleled revelation of G-d. Then Moshe ascended Har Sinai for forty days so G-d could teach him the laws and details of the Torah.

When the forty days had ended, Klal Yisroel thought Moshe would not return, and they panicked. The result was catastrophic; they created a golden calf and committed an egregious sin.

How did they reach such a low level? It began with a miscalculation. They thought Moshe was supposed to return that day. When six hours passed and he had still not returned, they began to worry. They knew Moshe was very precise – to him midnight was exactly midnight and midday was precisely midday. Now, they began to panic. If Moshe was really gone, G-d forbid, what would become of them? Who would lead them into Israel? Would they remain in the desert for eternity? Would the mahn continue to fall – after all it was only due to Moshe that it fell in the first place? And if there was no mahn what would become of their families? To make matters worse, the Satan showed them the image of Moshe dead.

The Satan did not succeed in totally convincing the Jewish people that he died, for the people only said, “we do not know what became of him.” However, they did allow their imagination to overpower their intellect. They were terribly frightened. If they had been completely logical they would have reasoned that G-d would not abandon them, even if Moshe did not return; perhaps Aharon would take over. The problem was that the people followed what their eyes saw, not what logic dictated.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz zt’l pointed out that in the Hoshanos recited on Hoshana Rabba we beseech G-d to save, “the ground from accursedness … the soul from panic.” In that paragraph we ask G-d to save the granary from “gazam” – a type of locust, and the crop from “arbeh” – another type of locust, for they are destructive forces.

By the same token the soul must be saved from panic, for it is a destroyer. This is precisely what happened in the desert. The people panicked and were so frightened they were not able to think logically. This led to decisions made in haste.

The lesson we must learn from their sin is not to allow ourselves to be immediately overwhelmed by what our eyes see. Our imagination can at times paint terrible pictures, but we must remember that it is only our imagination.

Why did the Jews panic so much when they thought Moshe would not return?

Let’s keep in mind that though the nation had just accepted the Torah at Sinai, a mere year earlier they were lowly slaves living in a brutal exile.

Servitude does not only destroy one’s physical sense of freedom, it destroys the one’s mental and psychological sense of self as well. A slave becomes completely dependent on his masters. There are no bills to pay or decisions to make. The slave forfeits his identity to his master and knows nothing other than the directions imposed upon him.

When the Jews marched forth from Egypt they had the difficult challenge of not only traversing the land of their captivity but also triumphing over the slave mentality that had infiltrated their conscience for so many generations. That reality was extremely daunting and immobilizing for the newly freed nation. They were frightened by the prospect that they had to make their own decisions and forge their own pathways in service to G-d.

So when they thought Moshe would not return they feared that they would be unable to lead their families and live up to their lofty potentials without an intermediary to guide them.

This mindset was an integral part of the sin of the Golden Calf. It wasn’t only what they did; it was also the feeling of turmoil and fear which caused their actions. They were held accountable for allowing their emotions to overwhelm them because they did not sufficiently believe in themselves!

With this in mind we can understand why the Torah repeats the importance of safeguarding Shabbos prior to its narrative of the sin of the Golden Calf. When Shabbos is observed properly it helps instill within us a sense of serenity and inner-peace. It is a day of connection when we remind ourselves of our priorities. On Shabbos we have the ability to contemplate life and our place in it in a manner that we cannot achieve during the other six days, which are more chaotic and fast-paced.

When one observes Shabbos properly he is protected from sins such as the Golden Calf.

About the Author: Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW is the Rabbi of Kehillat New Hempstead, as well as Guidance Counselor and fifth grade Rebbe in ASHAR, and Principal at Mesivta Ohr Naftoli of New Windsor. He can be reached at stamtorah@gmail.com. Visit him on the web at www.stamtorah.info.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Parshas Ki Sisa: ‘Don’t Panic’”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The IAF reportedly hit a Syrian military target in Damascus around midnight.
IDF Retaliates Against Syrian Military Targets, Sets Off Rocket Alarms on the Golan
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Dani Staum
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspectives-NEW

A person who truly feels that everything is a blessing from G-d will count his blessings and realize just how much he has.

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Often in life we become stuck – stuck in the morass of our habits and the rote of our comfort level.

The innkeeper smiled and replied, “Why do you think we are dancing? We are dancing because G-d destroyed the Bais HaMikdash!”

After listening to the driver’s incredible story, Rabbi Levenstein asked him, “What about you? After seeing such a miracle why didn’t you became Torah observant?”

Twelve of the greatest leaders of the nation, one from each shevet, were dispatched to survey the land. The results of that mission were catastrophic.

It is one thing to do a chesed for someone one time or when it is convenient. But for a person to go a few hours out of his way every year for a stranger demonstrates incredible selflessness.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/parshas-ki-sisa-dont-panic/2012/03/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: