Torah Pearls – Season 2 – Ki Tisa


…the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us”…And Aaron said to them, “Break off your golden earrings…and bring them to me.” …And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to YHVH!” – Exodus 32:1-5

Tanakh Tour November 2015

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  1. Ida Blom says

    G’Day! Thanks again for a very thought-provoking recording. I have two questions:
    1) Why would it necessarily be the mixed multitude who instigated the golden calf episode; (why is a distinction made here between two groups if at Sinai, EVERYONE became part of the nation of Israel?). Just like today, when someone converts, they become a full Jew and one is not allowed to refer to him/her as being from a previous ‘group’
    2) How on earth did Moses grind the golden calf into powder? With what tool was he able to pulverize the golden calf?

  2. Sophiee Saguy says

    The erev rav were insincere in their acceptance of the covenant. The Erev Rav is only mentioned by that name once in the Torah (Sh’mot / Exodus 12). It was Moses’ decision to let them leave Egypt with the Jews — not G-d. They returned to idolatry (the golden calf).

    Simeon bar Yochai (Rashbi) wrote “the Clouds of Glory did not embrace them (they wer outside the camp) and in procession they followed after the livestock.. . .the Manna did not descend for them; They would get their food from leftovers Jews gave them.”

    From the OU “Malbim suggests that these members of the Erev Rav who went unpunished by Shevet Leyve were killed by the plague. Malbim’s insight explains why the Torah does not indicate the number of people killed by the plague. The Torah indicates the number of members of Bnai Yisrael executed by Shevet Leyve because this information is relevant to the narrative of the Torah. The Torah is describing the development of the Jewish nation. However, the Erev Rav was not part of Bnai Yisrael. After this incident, the Erev Rav was decimated and no longer significant. Therefore, the number of members of the Erev Rav killed by the plague is not treated as a significant element of the narrative.”

  3. Ida Blom says

    Sophiee, how do we know ALL “the Erev Rav were insincere in their acceptance of the covenant?” Perhaps were were just ten righteous amongst them for whom Manna would descend and who would have converted sincerely and become part of Bnai Yisrael?

    If I think of the sin of Korach incident — were the Erev Rav decimated by that time?

  4. Sophiee Saguy says

    Ida, remember two things: Moses and Levites killed many of those involved in the sin of the golden calf, and those who were not killed died in a plague.

    The term “erev rav” is only used once in the Torah — Sh’mot/ Exodus 12. However, there have always been outsiders who have aligned themselves with the Jews — some who truly want to be with the Jewish people and others who have ulterior motives.

  5. Ida Blom says

    Sophiee, my previous question is still unanswered. I also want to ask this: In Exodus 32, when Gd said the following, why did He not point out that it is the Erev Rav who were to blame for influencing the children of Israel? No, He only spoke about ONE group. There is no question in my mind that this conversation is about one group, — the children of Israel.

    7 Then the L-RD spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 “They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” 9 The L-RD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

    11 Then Moses entreated the L-RD his God, and said, “O L-RD, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people

  6. Ida Blom says

    Also, I don’t purport to know the Talmud, but I found this interesting:

    References in the Talmud to “That day was as difficult for the people of Israel as the day on which the [Golden] Calf was made”, it seems it was “.. the most tragic day in Jewish history”. No other group is blamed.

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