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Finding A Personal Connection

By: Hannah Katz

This week's Parsha is Parshat Ki Tisa and we read about the sin of the Golden Calf. It’s known as the Sin of the Golden Calf but what was actually the sin? Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, the author of the Kuzari comments on this “sin” and he brings in the example that Bnei Yisroel needed something physical to connect to. Bneii Yisroel throughout the story of the exodus of Egypt has seen only the physical aspect of Hashem whether it was the makot or Hashem speaking to them at Har Sinai where he said “you may not have other gods”. Now you may be thinking well then why would they need something to help them connect to Hashem if they just heard Him speak to all of them? This is because Moshe was 40 days late and they all started to think, is he even coming back? Bnei Yisroel needed an outlet to be able to connect to Hashem just as we associate holy places with something physical. When we think of Hashem we imagine Him in the heavens. We pour our hearts out to Him while looking to the heavens (the sky) with the intention that He will hear us better. Or even having a special Siddur that you connect to or even a shul that has a spiritual aspect to it where we find it comforting to believe Hashem is there with us. These are all physical aspects of this world to help us have a stronger connection to Hashem.

 The Ramban also tries to understand the “sin” of the golden calf. The Ramban says that the reason Beni Yisroel made the Golden Calf was to create another Moshe. What does it mean that they created another Moshe? When Moshe left Bnei Yisroel he left with no food, no water, and again came down from Har Sinai 40 days later than they expected him to. Bnei Yisroel started to freak out and instead of looking for a leader within their own nation they believed that by making this Calf out of gold they would be able to have a new leader. But didn't they worship this Golden Calf? How would we know it was only temporary to be looked at as their leader? We see that when Moshe did come down from Har Sini Bnei Yisroel started to pack their things right away and disregard the calf and ran to Moshe. When Moshe burnt the Golden calf no one complained and when he told them to drink the ashes they did just that. If Bnei Yisroel really looked at the Golden Calf as their “god” wouldn’t they be freaking out at the fact that Moshe just destroyed their “god”? This is how we are able to see that Bnei Yisroel just needed something temporary. The lesson we can learn from this is that yet one may feel alone in struggling to form a connection with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. We have proof that a whole nation that saw the hand of Hashem has their own struggle in creating a connection. It’s up to us how we want to form our connection whether it’s davening or even learning Torah in our free time. Each person has their own personalized connection to Hashem. It's up to how we want to create it and maintain it. I want to wish everyone a Shabbat Shalom and that everyone should be able to find Hashem in their everyday lives and connect to the smallest aspects of Him we can to maintain our connection with Him.