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Ki Tisa 5762

Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  I was so touched by the dedication of this week's edition, that I decided to share it with you up front (something I have never done before) and then share with you some thoughts. Here is the dedication:

Dedicated to our Parents
Dr. Philip and Roslyn Kurlansky
on the occasion of their
60th Wedding Anniversary
Thank you for so many gifts,
amongst which is
the gift of knowing that
that life has ultimate meaning.
With great love,
Your Children and Grandchildren

It is a major victory in life when a couple celebrates 60 years together; it is an even greater victory when they engender such love and appreciation from their children and grandchildren.

How does one engender such love and appreciation? Where there is peace in the home, no arguing amongst the parents in front of the children, unconditional love, respect for each other, boundaries and consistency ... and values, there is a good chance that our children will have such warm feeling for us.

How we relate to our children and how our children are taught to relate to us, teaches our children how to relate to the Almighty and to authority. If a child does not show gratitude and respect to his parents who gave him life, how is he expected to show gratitude and respect for God who not only is a partner in giving him life, but who has given him the whole world?

The Torah teaches: "Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you in order that your days may be lengthened and that it should be good for you upon the Land which the Lord your God gives to you" (Deuteronomy 5:16). Also, "Every man shall revere his mother and his father and you shall observe My Sabbaths; I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:3). (It is interesting to note that the Torah commands us to observe the Sabbath in the same sentence as the commandment to honor one's father and mother. This is to clarify that the same Source which commands you to honor your father and mother commands you NOT to listen to them if they tell you to violate the Shabbat or any other Mitzvah.)

We see from these two verses that there are two Mitzvot (commandments): (a) To honor your parents and (b) To revere your parents.

Here are some basic Halachot, (Jewish laws) instructing us how to treat our parents:

  1. We should consider our parents distinguished, even if others do not consider them so.

  2. We must always speak to our parents with a soft and pleasant tone.

  3. We must not contradict our parents. (Yorah Daiah 240:1 --The Code of Jewish Law)

  4. We must not call our parent by name. (Yorah Daiah 240:1)

  5. We must not sit in a place where our parent usually sits.

  6. We should fulfill our parent's requests with a pleasant facial expression.

  7. We are obligated to stand up before our father and our mother. (Yorah Daiah, 240:7)

  8. We have no right to humiliate or embarrass our parents, regardless of what they do to us

  9. If a parent tells us to violate either a Torah law or rabbinical law, we are forbidden to comply.

  10. We must be careful not to awaken our parents.

The Almighty has implanted in parents an innate love for their children, but this does not lessen the Torah obligation to honor and respect one's parents. We must be grateful for the numerous acts of kindness that our parents have bestowed upon us, and have no right to minimize their efforts on our behalf by questioning their motives.

The reward for honoring parents is long life. Therefore, not only must we honor our parents, but if we sincerely love our children, we should make sure that they fulfill this commandment, too!

Portion of the Week

Ki Tisa

The Torah portion includes: instructions for taking a census (by each person donating a half shekel); instructions to make the Washstand, Anointing Oil, and The Incense for the Mishkan, the Portable Sanctuary; appointing Bezalel and Oholiab to head up the architects and craftsmen for the Mishkan; a special commandment forbidding the building of the Mishkan on Shabbat (people might have thought that they would be allowed to violate the Shabbat to do a Mitzvah...).

The Torah portion continues with the infamous story of the Golden Calf. The people wrongly calculated that Moses was late in coming down from Mt. Sinai and the people were already seeking a replacement for him by making the Golden Calf (there is a big lesson in patience for us here). Moses sees them dancing around the calf and in anger breaks the Two Tablets; he then punishes the 3,000 wrongdoers (less than .1% of the 3 million people), pleads to God not to wipe out the people, requests to see the Divine Glory, and receives the second set of Tablets of the Ten Commandments.


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Moshe is on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments. The Almighty relates to him all that has happened in the creating of the Golden Calf and with the worshipping of it. Then the Almighty concludes with this final verse in summation as to why He wants to annihilate the Jewish people, "... I have seen this people and they are a stiff-necked people' " (Exodus 32:9). What is it that makes our stiff-neckedness the "final straw" for the Almighty?

Rabbi Simcha Zissel of Kelm explains that the main fault of the Jewish people was that they were stiff-necked. That is, they lacked the flexibility to admit that they made a mistake. When someone is flexible, even if he makes many mistakes he will regret them and will change. However, if a person is inflexible, when he makes a mistake, he will not repent and improve.

It is important to be flexible to improve oneself. There is also a time to be inflexible when upholding values and maintaining one's honesty and integrity.


"... Judges should not be like lawyers; when the litigants stand before you look upon them as guilty; but when they depart from before you, let me be meritorious in your eyes for they have accepted the judgment." -- Yehuda ben Tabai

(or go to

Jerusalem  5:00
Guatemala 5:52  Hong Kong 6:09  Honolulu 6:18
J'Burg 6:20  London 5:21  Los Angeles 5:31
Melbourne 7:43  Miami 6:04  Moscow 5:44

New York 5:29  Singapore  7:02


When you were born,
you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life
so that when you die
the world cries and you rejoice.

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