Daily Chumash Monday Ki Sisa: The sin of the Eigel



  1. The Luchos:
  • After Hashem finished speaking with Moshe on Har Sinai He handed him the two stone Luchos which were written by the finger of G-d.


  1. The sin of the Eigel:
    • Moshe’s delayed return and the building of the golden calf: The nation saw that Moshe delayed descending from the mountain and they gathered around Aaron telling him that they need to make a new G-d as a leader, as Moshe’s whereabouts are unknown. Aaron told the nation to gather the gold jewelry worn on the ears of their wives and daughters and have it brought to him. The entire nation removed the golden jewelry that was on their ears and brought it to Aaron. Aaron took the gold from them and bound it in a scarf and made it into a molten calf.
    • The Eigel is worshipped: They saw the calf and proclaimed “Israel, these are your G-ds who took you out of Egypt.” Aaron saw what was occurring and built an altar in front of the calf. Aaron then proclaimed that the next day would a be a festival for G-d. They arose early the next day and brought offerings on the altar. They sat to eat and drink and got up to sport.
    • Moshe is informed by Hashem of the sin: Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Go descend from here as your nation who you took out of Egypt has sinned. They have quickly strayed from the path which I commanded them and have made a molten calf and prostrated themselves to it and sacrificed to it and said that it is the G-d who has taken them out of Egypt.
    • Moshe pleads to Hashem: Hashem then told Moshe that he has seen that the nation is a stubborn nation, and He desires to be left alone to destroy them, and then make a new nation from Moshe. Moshe pleaded to Hashem not to do such a thing and cause the world to say that He took the Jewish people out of Egypt to destroy them. “Please relent from your anger and reconsider doing evil to the nation. Remember the promises you made to the forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.” As a result of Moshe’s pleas, Hashem retracted from the evil He said He would do to the nation.
    • Moshe descends with the Luchos: Moshe descended from the mountain with the two Luchos in his hand. The Luchos were inscribed from both sides, from one end to the other, a writing of G-d.
    • Moshe reaches the camp, breaks the tablets, and destroys the calf: Yehoshua heard shouting coming from the people and told Moshe that the sound of battle is in the camp. Moshe replied that it is the sound of blasphemy. When Moshe came close and saw the golden calf and the dancing around it he became inflamed with anger and threw the Luchos, causing them to break on the bottom of the mountain. Moshe took the calf that they made and burnt it in a fire, grinding it to dust and then scattering it on water. The Jewish people were given this water to drink.
    • Moshe confronts Aaron: Moshe asked Aaron what the nation did to him that brought him to cause such a grave sin. Aaron replied to Moshe that he should not get angry with him, and Moshe knows that the nation is in a bad state. “They told me to make a G-d, as they do not know the whereabouts of Moshe. I simply asked them for gold and they gave it to me and I threw it into the fire and this golden calf rose up.” Moshe saw that the nation was exposed, as Aaron had caused them to be uncovered in disgrace.
    • Moshe has the idol worshipers killed: Moshe stood at the head of camp and declared “Whoever is for Hashem come to me.” All the Levites came to Moshe. Moshe instructed them, that Hashem commanded that each person should take a sword to his thigh and pass through the gates and kill all the perpetrators, whether it be a friend or relative. The Levites did as Moshe instructed and killed 3000 men. Moshe then blessed them for doing so.
    • Moshe returns to Heaven to achieve atonement: The next day, Moshe told the nation that they have sinned a great sin and that he will try to ascend back to heaven to achieve atonement. Moshe returned to Hashem and told Him that the nation has sinned a very grave sin and made a gold idol. Moshe then told Hashem “If you would only forgive their sin, but if not, erase me from your book that You have written.” Hashem replied that only the sinners will be erased from his book. Hashem instructed Moshe to go back and lead the people, and told him that an angel will go before them, and He will seek retribution for their sin at a future time of reckoning.
    • Hashem smote the people who made the calf that Aaron made.

  1. Hashem informs Moshe that He will not escort the Jewish people any longer:
  • Hashem told Moshe to go lead the nation to the promised land and that He will send His angel before them and drive out the Canaanite nations. I will not ascend with you, said Hashem, as you are a stubborn nation and I may annihilate you on the way.
    • The nation removes their crown: When the nation heard this bad news, they mourned and did not place their crowns on their heads. Hashem told Moshe to explain to the people that Him going with them can lead to their annihilation due to their stubbornness. Hashem instructed them to remove the crowns from their heads. The Jewish people thus lost the crowns they received on Mount Chorev.

  1. Moshe distances his tent from the camp:
    • Moshe took his tent and pitched it outside of the camp and called it the Ohel Moed. Whoever seeks G-d would come to the Ohel Moed outside of the camp. The nation would stand upon Moshe leaving to his tent and look at him until he returned. When Moshe would arrive a pillar of cloud would descend upon it and speak to Moshe. The nation would see the cloud by the entrance of the tent and they would bow down. Hashem spoke to Moshe face to face like a friend would speak to a friend and he would the return to the camp. Yehoshua Ben Nun would not leave the tent.

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