Ki Tisa: Chapter 11

The golden Calf


We read that when Yisrael left Egypt they traveled with the mixed multitude, though it is not said exactly which other nations they were. This section tells us about the magicians and sorcerers of Egypt that went with them. In it, Rabbi Shimon tells why Aaron made the golden calf, and explains the significance of the golden earrings that people gave for the idol. We read of the role of the magicians in the creation of the calf, and the correspondence of this event with the three worlds Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. The only reason that Aaron was able to remedy the problem when the Other Side became stronger was because he made proclamations and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to Hashem"; had he not done this, the world would have ceased to exist. The text returns to the fact that Moses had to restrain the arm of God from judgment. Then we are told that just as Adam was united with the Tree of Life before he sinned, so were the children of Yisrael when they stood before Mount Sinai. And like the sin in the Garden, the sin of the golden calf again caused death for the whole world. Lastly, Rabbi Aba speaks about the Tent of appointed time, that has now been blemished, thereby interrupting the union of Malchut and Zeir Anpin.