9

One answer I learned, heavily steeped in aggadah, was that there was no intent to build a calf. One of the things thrown into the molten gold was something that had the words "aleh shor" written on it, which was previously used to raise Joseph's bones from the Nile (as Joseph was referred to as an ox, or compared to, I forget) so a cow form arose. That is ...


7

The Ramban to Shemos 32:7 explains that there were multiple tiers of sinners in the golden calf episode, all of whom had different intentions of varying degrees of infraction, but that it was the majority of the nation that sinned: אמר השם למשה כי עשו שתים רעות האחת כי שחת עמך וענין ההשחתה הריסת בנין... השני כי עשו עגל מסכה והשתחוו לו ויזבחו לו והנה העבירה ...


7

For starters: anything about idol worship is going to sound a bit weird to us today. There are a couple of conjectures out there; the simplest is that cattle were a sign of prosperity (you use them to work, and they give you food), so an idol of that form was very popular. (I'm told we also find it in archeological digs.) Note that 500 years later, King ...


6

So, I asked a Rov and got a few answers: By the golden calf, the party lines were split cleanly. When Moshe Rabeinu called out מי לה׳ אלי, all the Leviim came forward and nobody else did. (Whatever amount of participation there was, that announcement and response shows something) Over here, there were many people from Shevet Reuven involved, so it wasn't a ...


6

According to the Midrash, and some texts of the Kabbalah, ( I don't remember the exact sources), when the Jewish people are described as "seeing Gd's feet", what they saw, was the Merkava (chariot) from Ezekiel. On one of the sides of the Chariot is a bull. That bull represents Mercy. And since they believed Moshe to have died, they were hoping for the Gd ...


5

The Ramban says that Moshe's intention was that the substance used for idolotry should end up vomited or defecated out, further humiliating it. But he also quotes the Talmud's reason as brought in Rashi approvingly. In terms of Rashi's answer, of course the primary similarity is the drinking of water to bring out something that is otherwise unknowable ...


4

Rashi is saying that in this instance they followed Moshe even though it didn't make sense. That is why the verse emphasizes that they did it - they did it despite the fact that it wasn't reasonable. They didn't always behave that way, in fact right afterwards (v. 11) in this very story.


4

The Golden Calf icon seems to be associated with Hashem. Aharon, Jeroboam, and Jehu (all of whom create or, in Jehu's case, do not destroy, calf-idols) never mention any other god in connection with their actions. In fact they all present themselves as worshiping Hashem, albeit in a way that the Torah disproves of.


4

BS"D, Hakham Eli Mansour makes this connection 'al pi HaRav Shimon Schwab in his shi'ur on Parashat Ki Tisa 5774 (link, see 17:15-28:00). HaRav Mansour explains HaRav Schwab by starting with the fact that it was the men who gave the gold from their earrings to Aharon after their wives refused to hand over their jewelry for the purposes of 'Avodah Zarah (for ...


4

Moses prayed for Aaron, but he also prayed for the forgiveness of the entire Children of Israel, both for this sin and for many others (for the golden calf in Exodus 32:11, for the sin of the spies in Numbers 14:13, for the rebellion of Korah in Numbers 16:22). The verse in its context (Deuteronomy 9:18-20) is one of those cases in which Moses prayed for the ...


4

Because even if it was their own brother they had to be killed. A person might think that if it was their brother or good friend they may have mercy and spare them, therefore, it expressly writes 'brother' and 'fellow' to highlight the need for them all to be killed. The Ibn Ezra writes: והרגו איש את אחיו. אפי' יהיה אחיו. ורבים פירשו האומר לאביו ולאמו על זה ...


3

Ther are 2 Explanations In the Peirush Tur Haoroch (Rav Yaakov Ben Asher 14th Century) קול ענות אנכי שומע. כ' הרמב"ן לא מפני שידע משה הדבר כי אדרבה לא להגיד לו כי לא רצה לספ' בגנותן של ישרא' אלא אמר קול זה הנשמע הוא כקול שחוק. The Ramban explains that Moshe and Yehoshua were both far away so when Yehoshua said to Moshe that the people were "at war" ...


3

There are two levels of Divine justice that may affect sinners. 1) Punishment for the crime itself. 2) Extra-judicial punishment in the special case called Chillul Hashem. Both of these are considered true justice. But, Chillul Hashem (desecrating G-d's name) is applied to the sin AND the public situation caused, even if the sinner(s) do not deserve the ...


3

Ramban himself explains why he feels it is acceptable to argue against Chazal (the Sages of the Mishnah and Gemara) when explaining the simple meaning (p'shat) of a verse in the Torah. In his comments to Bereishit 8:4, he writes that is permissible for him to explain some of the details of the flood story differently to Rashi, whose explanation there ...


3

Rashi says in his commentary on Exodus 32:20 there were different punishments for different levels of sin. People who were warned before witnesses were killed by the sword, as was done by an Idolatrous city, (Deut. 13:16). Others who acted before witnesses without warning were killed in a plague, (Ex. 32:35). Others who acted without witness or warning were ...


3

The Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 10:2 explain this in the name of R. Shimon bar Yochai, they made thirteen calves, one for each one of the shevatim and one which was common to all of them: תני ר"ש בן יוחי שלשה עשר עגלים עשו ישראל ואחד דימוסיא לכולן ומה טעמא ויאמרו אלה אלהיך ישראל הרי לשנים עשר שבטים זה אלהיך הרי דימוסיא אחת לכולן.


3

Many commentaries go case-by-case through each of the "terrible mistakes" of the Jews in the desert and explain how they are not as terrible as they seem. For example, by the sin of the Golden Calf, the Ramban explains (32:1) that they did not want to create an idol to serve, but rather to appoint a new leader, a Moshe replacement, to lead them now that ...


3

I'm sure there are many more, but wanted to share 4 approaches as to how many people sinned/ participated in the golden calf. 1) Majority of the nation literally sinned (via their innermost thoughts) The Ramban on Shemos 32:7 writes that even though the people killed as a result of the golden calf were comparatively few (ie 3,000), the majority of the nation ...


3

His source may be the Alshich's commentary to Vayikra 21, which is based on his understanding of a Midrash (P. Chukas): וכמאמרם ז"ל (מס' שבת פ' חבית) ישראל שעמדו על הר סיני פסקה זוהמתן..... אך אחרי כן על ידי העגל חזרה הזוהמא למקומה .....וזה מאמרם (שם במדרש) ז"ל כי העגל טינף פלטין של מלך כי האדם הוא פלטין משכן מלכו של עולם כי היכל ה' הוא. ומה גם במ"ת ...


2

Rashi cites the Gemara in Yoma 66b that there were three levels of those who sinned that day. The drinking was applied to those who sinned without warning or witnesses (according to the opinion that Rashi cites). The Gemara in Avoda Zara 44a says that he was checking them like the law of a Sotah. The implication is that this was only applied to those that ...


2

According to Rabbi Deutsch's "Let My Nation Serve Me," one explanation given for why specifically a calf is because it represents Taurus. They previously were in Mitzraim, land of the sheep (Aries). After Mitzraim fell, they turned to the following Mazel, that of Iyar, the bull. (Several other explanations are given, but none relate to a specific deity.)


2

Rav Hirsch explains Ki Sisa 32:24 as meaning that Aharon did not try to explain all the details of the event and that he had tried to delay the Jewish people unsuccessfully. He glosses over his attempts to prolong the actual work and tries to skip over the murder of Chur and his own danger had he completely refused. How great Aharon show himself in this ...


2

The Bnei Levi were separate all along, according to Chazal. They studied Torah and were not involved in the work. Therefore, it stands to reason that they weren't influenced by Egyptian ideas and didn't make the same mistake as everyone else.


2

One can use the analogy of someone who steals fails to repay the theft. He is told that as long as he does not commit any further crimes, he will not have to pay. If he does commit another crime, he will have to pay both what is owed for the future crime but also for the original debt. This is not that a person is being punished for what his ancestor did, ...


2

Here is some of the commentary on that phrase from sefaria, starting from one simple claim, of the Bekhor SHor that they were using a divine plural, דרך לדבר אלהות ואדנות בלשון רבים כמו אלהים קדושים The Ohr Hachayim writes, When they spoke about אלה, "These," they made sure that they did not exclude G'd in Heaven. Possibly, they used the expression ...


2

Ralbag explains that it was precisely because they made an idol to replace Moses that few people went astray. In fact, he says, that Aaron deliberately did it this way so that the people would see that the golden calf was clearly a man-made object with no divine powers. The people who did "make it a god" were the ones who did not see Aaron making it. וסבת ...


2

In Tehillim 106:19-20 it does in fact refer to the golden calf as both an eigel (calf) and a shor (bull): יעשו עגל בחרב וישתחוו למסכה. וימירו את כבודם בתבנית שור אכל Though every eigel could be defined as a shor as quoted in Bava Kama 65b, A fully grown shor cannot be defined as an eigel bwhich is specifically reffering to its young state (example "...


2

Essentially, all prohibitions are pushed aside when threatened with death, except for three notable exceptions: Idolatry, Adultery, and Murder. Here are some possible suggestions why it would be permitted to create the Golden Calf (under threat of death): Facilitating idolatry is not Idolatry Ahron himself did not serve the idols, but facilitated the Jews to ...


1

To answer your first question: "Could someone explain me the meaning of the words: 'their fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote'?" Rashi comments on that verse Because this people has come near: Jonathan renders: Because this people has aggrandized itself. I.e., they have come near to raise themselves up to the heavens. They show ...


1

Ramba"n on Bemidbar 14:17 (the link points to the continuation page, where the part I shall summarize is) notices that when Moishe uses the 13 middot formulary, he omits נוצר חסד לאלפים ("passes kindness to a thousand generations") as an allusion to the forefathers' merit. The reason Moshe omits this is that the land was promised to the forefathers and B'...


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