Ki Tisa

תש”פ פ’ כי תשא – פר ה
Volume 32, Issue 9
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedibarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser, The Vilna Gaon, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
כי תשא את ראש בני ישרא ל
“When you take a census of the children of Israel…” (30:12)
Moshe Rabeinu said to Hashem: “Ribbono Shel Olam! How can the radiance of Bnei Yisrael be enhanced?” Hashem replied: כי תשא את ראש בני ישראל – the literal translation being: When you lift the heads of Bnei Yisrael. When there is a general decline in the spiritual and religious ethics of the nation, there is a decline in the leaders as well. In order to life the radiance of Bnei Yisrael, the authority of the leaders must be lifted as well. Thus, when the question is asked: “How shall I lift the radiance of Bnei Yisrael?”, the answer is “Lift the heads of Bnei Yisrael”, the leaders and rulers of Bnei Yisrael. (Iturei Torah)
זה יתנו כל העבר על הפ קדים מחצית השקל בשקל ה קדש עשרים גרה ה שקל מ חצית השק ל תרו מה לה ‘
“That is what everyone who is included among the counted shall give, a half shekel, according to the holy shekel, twenty geirah to the shekel, a half shekel as a portion for G-d…” (30:13)
QUESTION: Why did G-d insist that the donation be specifically a half shekel?
ANSWER: Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz explains that it is meant to highlight the solidarity of the Jewish people, that no one is an island unto himself able to live totally independently. No, every Jew is only a “half,” who cannot reach fulfillment without connecting to his fellow Jews. (Tallelei Oros)
ורחצו אהרן ובניו ממנו את ידיה ם
“Aharon and his sons must wash their hands…” (30:19)
From here we learn that a person must wash his hands before each of the three daily tefilot, morning, afternoon and evening. (Abarbanel)
There are a number of reasons why the portion of the kiyor immediately follows the portion of the shekalim. One of the reasons being that the shekalim were designated for the silver bases to atone for the cheit ha’egel. The kiyor was also meant to attone for the chet ha’egel, since it was made of the offerings that the women brought to the mishkan. The women refused to donate anything for the egel and donated for the kiyor. The kiyor was destined to wash away the ritual filth brought about by the egel hazahav. (Torah Gems)
והי תה להם חק עולם לו ולזרעו לדרת ם
“And it shall be to them a statute forever to him and to his seed throughout the generations…” (30:21)
One who is careful and makes sure to wash his hands, is blessed with wealth and a livelihood (Shabbos 62). Not only is he blessed, but his children and all the generations thereafter forever are blessed. (Amirah Neimah)
ויקח מידם ויצר אתו בחרט ויעשהו עגל מסכ ה
“And he took it from their hands and bound it up in a cloth and fashioned it into a molten calf…” (32:4)
QUESTION: If only three thousand people made the egel, why were all of Bnei Yisrael punished?
ANSWER: They were accountable for not stopping those three thousand from sinning. Bnei Yisrael remained passive while three thousand of their brethren were creating the egel because they did not give each other the benefit of the doubt. Everyone thought that egel is a terrible sin. However, each one thought he was the only one to feel like that, and were he to stand up for his convictions, he would be arguing against the entire Bnei Yisrael. Therefore, everyone kept their objections to themselves, and let the construction of the egel proceed without protest. Had everyone in Bnei Yisrael judged each other favorably, they would have had a united front against the three thousand making the egel and could have prevented this catastrophe. (Maharal Diskin)
אנא חטא העם הזה חטאה גדל ה
“I implore, this nation has committed a great sin…”
QUESTION: How does telling the Ribbono Shel Olam that Bnei Yisrael did an aveirah help them obtain forgiveness?
ANSWER: Moshe referred to their sin as “cheit”, which generally refers to an aveirah done by accident, as opposed to pesha or avon, which refer to sins done on purpose. Moshe could not argue that Bnei Yisrael did not do an aveirah; they clearly did. Instead, his argument was that they did not have intentions to do an aveirah. (Parsha Pshetl)