This week’s Torah portion is called Ki-Tisa “You shall Take.” * The Israelites each donate a half-shekel for the sanctification of the priests, the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the holy vessels.
This portion also contains the famous story of the people building and worshiping a golden calf when Moses is on Mt. Sinai receiving the Torah. This goes against the very first commandment which was already announced to them. When Moses comes down from the mountain and sees the scene, he angrily breaks the two stone tablets engraved with the Ten commandments which he is carrying.
When Moses begs G-D to forgive the people, G-D responds with the famous expression “I forgave the people as you asked of me”, a statement which has been adapted in our Yom Kippur service. Moses asks to see G-D but is told he cannot see G-D’s face and live. Moses is told to stand in the cleft of a rock. As the shadow of G-D passes behind him, Moses utters the 13 Divine attributes of compassion. Moses then returns with a second set of tablets. His face is so radiant with Light that he needs to wear a veil when speaking to the people.
There are many messages in this Torah portion that guide us on our soul’s journey in this Torah portion. One I would like to focus on is the Light radiating from the face of Moses after meeting with G-D.
We need to first understand that when the Torah was translated from the Hebrew, the word “Karan” which means “radiating” was mistakenly seen as “Keren” which means horns. There are no vowels in the Torah so it is easy to see the similarities of the two words. The use of the word, “horns” makes no sense in this context. Unfortunately, the notion that Jewish people have horns took hold from this error and even Michaelangelo’s statue of Moses is depicted with horns.
So why did Moses need to wear a veil with so much Light radiating from his face when speaking to the Israelites? The answer is they weren’t ready to absorb so much Light. When we begin a spiritual journey it is just that, a journey. We need to go through the various stages. The Light that comes into our lives shows us anything that is dark or hidden within us that needs to be resolved. Examples may be old grief, unresolved anger, emotional stress from childhood, even trauma in our genes such as the Holocaust.
Our holidays, prayers, Jewish traditions and performance of mitzvot are all meant to help us absorb a higher level of Light and release darkness.
By tapping into or aligning with Ki Tisa, we can receive additional help to face and release any hidden darkness in a gentle manner.