The weekly Torah portion of Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)

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What's significant about starting the parsha at Ki Tisa?

The first two aliyot of Parshat Ki Tisa are pretty long. Then the rest are all very short. I was told that the reason for this is that we want to give the Levi the aliyah that praises him, when ...
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Their altars…and *his* asheirah?

Shemot 34:13: כִּי אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם תִּתֹּצוּן וְאֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּן וְאֶת אֲשֵׁרָיו תִּכְרֹתוּן For you shall dismantle their altars, break their monuments, and cut down his ...
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Why are we so concerned about 1/2 of 1% (Golden Calf episode)

We just read (in Parshat Ki Tisa) that the Levites punished the 3,000 men who took part in the golden calf episode. But 3,000 is only 1/2 of 1% of the 600,000 Israelite men who left Egypt. Why is the ...
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מחני נא — Moshe's real name isn't mentioned

In Shemot 32:32, Moshe tells Hashem: וְעַתָּה אִם תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ: And now, if You forgive their sin But if not, erase me now from ...
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Hur in Ki Tisa - You only live twice?

Rashi on sheni in this weeks parsha has two consecutive comments that, taken together, seem rather strange. In 32:5, he says: He saw his sister’s son Hur, who had reproved them [the Israelites], ...
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Was the Golden Calf associated with a particular deity?

Are the Golden Calves constructed by Aaron and Jeroboam affiliated with any specific deity? In Ugaritic literature Baal is portrayed as a bull mating with his sister Anat who was a female calf. Does ...
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How is drinking the golden-calf water a sotah-like test?

In Shemot 32:20 Moshe grinds up the golden calf into water and makes the people drink it. Rashi comments on this: [Those who practiced idolatry both] without witnesses and without warning [died] ...
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Levi'im drinking from the ground-up golden calf waters

Moshe made everyone drink from the ground-up golden calf waters (Sh'mos 32:20). Did he force the Levi'im as well?
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Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
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Why believe angels' showing Aaron dead after being fooled about Moses?

When Moses didn't come down from Sinai, the Jews requested a replacement leader, explaining (Exodus 32:1) that this Moses man who lifted us out of the land of Egypt — we don't know what has ...
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Symbolism behind earrings used for the golden calf?

Shemos 32:2-3 tells us that the gold materials requested and used for the making of the golden calf were earrings. The Jews clearly had other gold items, including other golden jewlery (ibid 35:22). ...
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Why shva nach when it should be a chataf patach?

Shmot 31:4 says לַחְשֹׁב, מַחֲשָׁבֹת; לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּזָּהָב וּבַכֶּסֶף, וּבַנְּחֹשֶׁת Why does the word לחשוב have a shvah under the chet when normally a Peh-Gronit shoresh in the Pa'al binyan has ...
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Reference to the sukkah in the Shabbat reading of Chol haMoed?

The Shulchan Arukh (OC 663:3) says that on Shabbat of Chol haMoed Sukkot (as with the Shabbat of Chol haMoed Pesach) we read from Exodus 33-34. This is learnt out from a baraita in Megillah 31a, ...
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Why is the torah reading for minor fast days different by just one verse from when that reading occurs in the regular cycle?

On minor fast days we read Sh'mot 32:11-14 and 34:1-10. The latter is almost the fifth aliyah of Ki Tisa, which is Sh'mot 34:1-9. I've been taught that aliyah boundaries are thoughtful (not ...
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What does it mean that God will blot out sinners from his book?

In Parshat Ki Tisa, after the golden calf, Moshe pleads for God to forgive them, saying if not, blot me out of your book. The text then says: 33 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Whosoever hath ...
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What Set Oholiab and Bezalel apart?

In Exodus 31, Gd designates Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur the Judite, Oholiab son of Ahisamach the Danite, and 'all the wise-hearted' to construct the tabernacle. Why are Bezalel and Oholiab ...
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Did all of Bnei Israel worship the golden calf?

When Prophet Moses went up to the mountain, did all the people end up worshiping the cow, or were there some who remained aloof? What happened to such people who did not become idolaters? Were they ...
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targum to Ex. 32:27

Why do the targumim to Sh'mos 32:27 ("וְהִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו וְאִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ וְאִישׁ אֶת קְרֹבוֹ") use g'var twice and then enash? For example, Onkelos: וקטולו גבר ית אחוהי וגבר ית חבריה ...
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Why did God invite Moshe to stand on “*the* rock”?

In Parashat Ki Tisa, during the atonement for the Golden Calf, God says to Moshe (Exodus 33:21): הִנֵּה מָקוֹם אִתִּי; וְנִצַּבְתָּ, עַל-הַצּוּר Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt ...
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What did the 70 elders see?

Parshat Mishpatim says of the 70 elders who went up on Har Sinai with Moshe and Aharon: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, ...
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Do we read it as directing or breaking the ear?

Rashi to Shemos 31:17 states: וינפש: כתרגומו ונח, וכל לשון נופש והוא לשון נפש, שמשיב נפשו ונשימתו בהרגיעו מטורח מהמלאכה. ומי שכתוב בו (ישעיה מ כח) לא ייעף ולא יגע, וכל פעלו במאמר, הכתיב מנוחה ...
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Why do we read vayechal twice on a fast?

I have been doing some research on the question of vayechal at mincha and have hit a roadblock. So far, here are the questions I have considered and feel ok with as "answered": why lain at mincha on ...
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Moshe's Mask and Purim?

Is there a connection between Purim masks and the mask Moshe begins wearing at the end of Parshat Ki Tisa? It seems too much of a coincidence that it's read near Purim for there to be none.
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Did Aharon speak Lashon Hara?

In Parashat Ki Tisa (Shemot 32:21-22) it seems that Aharon spoke Lashon Hara about Am Yisrael. Are there are any commentaries that discuss this? Do they discuss his punishment if he recieved one?
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What was Moshe's “masveh”?

The Torah relates that Moshe donned a מסוה to hid the luminescence of his face, when addressing the community. What was the nature/appearance of this "masveh"?