Divrei Torah

PARSHAS KI-SISA 5777

In this week’s Parsha we read about the sin of the Golden Calf. The Jewish people miscalculated Moshe’s return from heaven. The people thought Moshe was supposed to come down from the mountain one day earlier than he was really scheduled to come. When he didn’t arrive, they got nervous and it was downhill from there. The people thought Moshe was dead and they had lost their most direct connection to the word of G-d. So, they created what they thought was a new conduit to G-d, by making a golden calf. 

Events began to snowball. Moshe’s nephew Chur tried to stop the process but the people didn’t take too kindly to him. They killed him and continued making the golden calf. 

Aharon wanted to stop them, but he was afraid he would meet the same fate as his nephew Chur. So, Aharon joined them and attempted to stall for time until Moshe would return. But, the people were so anxious to get on with the golden calf, they even went faster than Aharon wanted. They completed the golden calf and danced around it.

At that point, Moshe came down from the mountain. He saw what was happening, got angry, threw down the tablets that he had received from G-d and smashed the golden calf to pieces. So, one minute, the Jewish people were feverishly worshipping the golden calf. The next moment, they were frozen. How could that happen?

Rabbi Yissachar Frand comments that we see from this the power of Emes - truth. The golden calf was based upon Sheker – falsehood. Moshe represented Emes. Once Moshe appeared, the truth became apparent. It was as if somebody switched on a light in a dark room. The darkness was immediately gone. Truth stops falsehood.

Emes beats Sheker. Emes has the power to last. Sheker does not. Emes has the power to stand up on its own feet. Sheker does not. The word Emes is composed of the letters Alef, Mem and Tav. The Alef has two legs to stand on - The mem has a base to stand on - the Tav has two legs to stand on. So, Emes can stand. Sheker is composed of the letters Shin, Kuf and Reish. Shin has a point at the bottom so it cannot stand - Kuf has 2 legs which are not even, so it cannot stand - Reish has one leg, so it cannot stand on its own. Sheker has nothing to stand on. 

It is also interesting that the first three words of the Torah, “B’reishis Bara Elokim - In the beginning G-d created” end with the letters of Emes. B’reishis ends with a Tav . . . Bara ends with an Alef . . . Elokim ends with a Mem. Thus, the Torah is founded upon Emes. Also, the letter Alef is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Mem is in the middle and Tuf is at the end. So, Emes covers all of Judaism. Sheker, Shin, Kuf and Reish are consecutive letters almost at the end of the alphabet. Sheker does not last. 

Truth is everlasting. We read what we call a a Torah of truth. A life that is built based upon the Torah is living a life of ultimate truth. As the Passuk says, “who is the man who wants long life? . . . - guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.”