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February 28, 2013
In this week’s parsha, Ki Tisa we learn of the breaking of the
Tablets by Moshe when he descended from Har Sinai and found that the
Jewish people had not only made the Golden Calf, but were worshiping
it like a god. The 17th day of Tammuz is a fast day for all
generations since it was on this date that the 1st set of Tablets were
shattered and the walls of Jerusalem were breached.
Breaking the first set of the Ten Commandments according to the
Talmud received G-d’s approval. It’s hard to imagine since these Luchot were the
Tablets that were made by Hashem himself and what was written on the
Tablets was written by G-d. According to Rashi though, G-d not only
agreed with Moshe that what he did was correct but even praised him.
When the Ten Commandments were given at Har Sinai the Children of
Israel were spiritually whole and complete yet lacked in humility.
The Tablets were shattered because we were no longer worthy to have
We could only receive the infinite wisdom of the Torah with all its
interpretations and extensive explanations if we put our self aside,
be humble, and accept fully G-d’s omnipotence. We even daven three
times a day and say, “let my soul be as dust to all”, in order to
“open my heart to your Torah.” The shattering of the Ten Commandments
represented the humbleness of the Children of Israel which was the
necessary basis for their ultimate strength and greatness.
The shattered pieces of the first set of tablets were put in the
Holy Ark beside the new Tablets. Moshe wanted the Children of Israel
to be reminded of the enormity of their betrayal and transgression.
The broken Tablets teach us humility. When we are constantly reminded
of our imperfect past we are inspired to be better and learn from our
mistakes. This makes us stronger as individuals as we grow closer to
The broken Tablets placed next to the whole Tablets teach us
another lesson. There is strength in unity but there is also a danger
in unity because sometimes we overlook the individual parts. When we
look at the forest sometimes we miss the individual trees. In this
parsha Moshe counts the Children of Israel. Each man was required to
contribute a silver coin of a half-shekel. The method of counting by
means of coins is significant to prove that every single person has
his own individual worth and potential and each one of us can make a
The first set of Tablets which were given with tremendous noise,
thunder and fanfare, were destroyed while the second set of Tablets given in
private continue on. According to Rashi there is no greater trait
The breaking of the Tablets also teaches us a wonderful lesson
in human behavior. Right before the two Tablets were destroyed, the
Torah goes into great detail describing the beauty of the Tablets. ”…
Tablets inscribed on both their sides; they were inscribed on one side
and the other. The Tablets were G-d’s handiwork, and the script was
the script of G-d, engraved on the Tablets”.(Shemos 32:15)
Unfortunately, most people only appreciate that which they have
when it is gone or about to be taken away from them.
The first time the Tablets are mentioned in verse 18 they are
not described in such an elaborate detailed manner. We often take G-d’s
blessings for granted and must remember on a daily basis how
blessed we are right now. Enjoy and appreciate the moment and not
wait until the blessings are no longer with us.
It is possible to pick up the broken pieces in our lives. We
can always do teshuvah and make amends. Compared to the sin of the
Golden Calf, our challenges are quite small!
This d’var torah is in honor of the birthday of my husband, Scott, whose actions and mitzvot serve as a role model for our family and shul as he continually fixes all our problems!
February 27, 2013