Ki Tissa: A Summary of the Parashah

God continues describing the Tabernacle to Moses; the people worship the Golden Calf, Moses pleads on their behalf, and God forgives them.

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God then said to Moses, “Now come back to the mountain and carve two tablets of stone like the first. I will inscribe upon the tablets the words that were on the first tablets you broke.”

Moses did as God said and brought two new tablets of stone up to Mount Sinai. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with Moses. God proclaimed,

“The Lord, the Lord, God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in goodness and truth, extending mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving Iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and unto the fourth generation.”

Moses bowed his head, worshipping and asking God to pardon the sins of the people and take them as an inheritance.

God said, “Behold, I make a covenant, I make distinctions such as never have been created in all the earth, nor in any nation. All the people shall see the work of the Lord. Observe what I am commanding this day. I will drive peoples off their land, lest you follow their ways or sacrifice unto their gods.

“Instead, you shall break down their altars and smash their pillars. For you shall bow down to no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. You shall make no molten gods. Passover shall you keep. The Sabbath you shall keep. Shavout you shall keep. You shall redeem your firstborn. You shall give the first of your produce to the Temple of God. Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk. Write these words of my covenant. According to these words have I sealed a covenant with you and Israel.”

Moses remained with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights and did not eat bread nor drink water. God wrote upon the Tablets, the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

When Moses came down from the Mount Sinai with the two Tablets of Testimony, Moses did not know that his face radiated because he had spoken with God. When Aaron and the people saw the way Moses’ face radiated, they were afraid to come toward him. Moses beckoned them forward. First he gave the Commandments to the priests and rulers and then to all the children of Israel. Moses gave them all that the Lord had spoken upon Mount Sinai.

When Moses was done speaking, he put a veil on his face. When Moses went to speak to God, he took the veil off. When the children of Israel saw Moses’ face radiating, Moses put the veil back upon his face until he went to speak again with God.

Questions For Discussion

1) Moses’ face radiated because he had spoken with God. What makes your face radiate?

2) When Moses is delayed in returning from Mount Sinai, the people ask Aaron to make another god for them to worship. Do you ever get impatient with God and consider worshipping a different god?

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.