Parshas Ki Sisa-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Ki Sisa

Pesukim: 139 [Siman: חננאל]

Haftorah: Melachim 1 18:20[1]-39

Number of Mitzvos:

There are Nine Mitzvos in Parshas Ki Sisa. Four positive commands and five negative command.


A. Positive commands:

1. Mitzvah 105/Positive 44: For every Jew above age twenty to donate a half Shekel.

2. Mitzvah 106/Positive 45: For the Kohanim to wash their hands and feet upon entering the Temple and serving Hashem there.

3. Mitzvah 107/Positive 46: To make the anointing oil in the prescription given by the Torah.

4. Mitzvah 112/Positive 47: To stop working the land during Shemita.


B. Negative commands:

1. Mitzvah 108/Negative 62: Not to anoint with the anointing oil anyone other than a Kohen.

2. Mitzvah 109/Negative 63: Not to make a replica of the anointing oil.

3. Mitzvah 110/Negative 64: Not to make a replica of the incense.

4. Mitzvah 111/Negative 65: Not to eat from offerings given to idols.

5. Mitzvah 113/Negative 66: Not to eat meat and milk that were cooked together.


  1. The census taking and Machatzis Hashekel donation:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: “When you take a census of the Jewish people, each man is to give Hashem an atonement of his soul, in order so there should not be a plague amongst them when they are counted.”
    • What to give: All those who are counted are to give a half shekel of the holy shekel which is worth twenty Geira. It is a donation to Hashem.
    • From what age: Everyone from twenty years and up is to give the donation to Hashem to atone for their souls.
    • Its use: The money is to be used for the Temple service and be a remembrance for the Jewish people to atone for their souls.


  1. The Kiyor:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: You shall make a Kiyor sink and pedestal for washing. You are to fill it with water.
    • Material: The Kiyur and its pedestal is to be made of copper.
    • Location: It is to be placed between the Ohel Moed and altar.
    • Its use to wash the hands and feet: The Kohanim are to use the Kiyor to wash their hands and feet upon entering the Ohel Moed, or upon doing service on the altar. This needs to be done so they don’t die in their Avoda.
  1. The Shemen Hamishcha:
    • The ingredients: Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: Take the following prime spices and make the anointing oil:
      1. Pure myrrh, 500 Shekel’s weight.
      2. Aromatic cinnamon, 250 shekel’s weight, brought twice [for a total of 500].
  • Cane of aromatic spice, 250 shekels weight
  1. The Kiddah root, 500 Shekel’s weight.
  2. A Hin of olive oil.
  • The above ingredients are to be mixed by a spice blender and be turned into a sacred anointing oil.
  • Its use-What is anointed with it: The Ohel Moed and the Aron is to be anointed using this oil. Likewise, the Shulchan, Menorah, gold and copper Mizbeiach, and all their accessory vessels are to be anointed with this oil. The Kiyor and its pedestal is to be anointed with this oil. Through doing so, the vessels will become holy and anything that touches them will become consecrated. Likewise, Aaron and his sons are to be anointed with this oil and they will thus become consecrated to serve me as Kohanim.
  • Not to use it or make a replica: Tell the Jewish people that no man may anoint himself with the above oil and no man may make a replica of the above oil. Any one who makes a replica of it or who uses it on a non-Kohen, will be cut off from his nation [i.e. Kareis].
  1. The Ketores:
    • The ingredients: Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: “Take the following prime spices and make the Ketores:”
      1. Nataf/Stacte.
      2. Shecheiles/onycha.
  • Chelbana/galbanum
  1. Spices and pure frankincense.
  • All the above ingredients are to be of equal weight. The above ingredients are to be mixed by a spice blender and be turned into the Ketores incese. Some of it is to be finely ground, and some of it is to be placed before the Ohel Moed. It shall be to you a holy of holies.
  • Not to make a replica: One may not create a replica of the Ketores for the sake of smelling it, under the penalty of Kareis.
  1. Appointment of Betzalel to build the Mishkan.
  • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: “I have appointed Betzalel the son of Uri of the tribe of Yehuda to perform all the work of building the Mishkan and its accessories. I have filled him with wisdom and understanding to perform all the work. I have appointed to work with him Ohaliav the son of Achisamach from the tribe of Dan. They are to make the Ohel Moed, the Aron, the Kapores, the vessels of the Ohel, the Shulchan, the Menorah, the Ketores altar, the Olah altar, the Kiyor, and all their accessories. They are to make the priestly garments, the anointing oil and Ketores, as I commanded.”
  1. Guard the Shabbos:
    • A covenant between us and G-d: Hashem spoke to Moshe saying: “Tell the Jewish people that they are to guard the Shabbos as it is a sign and covenant between Me and them for all generations so that they know that I am Hashem who sanctifies you.”
    • Punishment for desecration: One who desecrates the Shabbos is liable for death and is liable for Kareis, to be cut off from the nation.
    • In commemoration of creation: One is to work six days and on the seventh day it is to be a complete rest, as in six days the world was created and on the seventh day I rested.



  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 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.


  1. Moshe pleads to Hashem and Hashem concedes:
  • Moshe pleads to Hashem to escort the people Himself: Moshe told Hashem that He had instructed him to lead the people but did not tell him who will escort them. “Now, You have said that I have found favor in your eyes. If this is true, then make Your ways known to me.”
  • Hashem retracts from His decision and agrees to escort the Jewish people: Hashem replied that He will no longer send His angel but that He Himself will escort them. Moshe replied to Hashem that if He will not go with them then they should not go onward, as this is the only way that they will know that they have found favor in His eyes, by Hashem traveling with them and setting them apart from all the other nations of the world.



  1. Hashem shows Moshe His glory:
  • Hashem responded to Moshe that he will acquiesce likewise to the second request [of distinguishing the Jewish people from amongst the gentiles], as you have found favor in My eyes. Moshe then asked Hashem to be shown His glory. Hashem replied that He will pass all His good before Him, although he cannot see His face, as no man can see G-d’s face and live. Hashem told Moshe that he [i.e. Moshe] will stand by a cleft within a rock and He will place His hand over him, so he is not injured while His glory passes over. “When I remove My hand, you will see My back but not My face.”


  1. Moshe ascends with the second Luchos:
  • Hashem instructed Moshe to carve for himself two tablets, similar to the first ones, and Hashem will write on it the words that were on the original Luchos that were broken. Hashem told Moshe to be ready in the morning and ascend Mount Sinai without any other person and wait for Him there. No man or animal shall be in the area.
  • Moshe did as he was instructed and carved two tablets, rose in the morning and ascended the mountain with the two tablets. Hashem descended in a cloud and stood with Moshe who called His name.
  • The thirteen attributes of mercy: Hashem then replied with saying the thirteen attributes of mercy, “Hashem, Hashem, Keil Rachum Vechanun Erech Apayim Verav Chesed Viemes, Notzer Chesed La’alafim, Nosei Avon Vapesha Vechatah Venakei” This means: Hashem is a merciful G-d, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness. He preserves kindness for 200 years. Forgiver of sin, One who absolves but does not absolve completely. He remembers the sin of a father upon the children and grandchildren, up until the 4th
  • Moshe hurried to bow to the ground and prostrated himself, asking Hashem that if he finds favor in His eyes, let Him go with them and forgive their sin.


  • Hashem agrees to distinguish the Jewish people: Hashem replied that He will make a covenant that He will distinguish the Jewish people from the other nations of the land.
  1. List of Mitzvos:
  • Banishing the Canaanite nations and idolatry: Hashem told Moshe that He will drive the Canaanite nations from the land, and that Moshe should beware not to make a treaty with them. You are to destroy their altars, statues, and trees of idolatry as Hashem is a zealous G-d who will not stand for idolatry. If you make a covenant with these nations, you may be led astray and join them in their feasts of idolatry. You may come to intermarry, and it will cause your children to stray after their G-ds.
  • Do not make for yourselves molten G-ds.
  • Pesach: Guard the festival of Pesach for seven days and eat Matzos in the month of spring. Do not slaughter the Pesach lamb over Chametz, or leave its meat leftover until morning.
  • Bechoros: Every firstborn is Mine, the firstborn male of an ox or sheep. The firstborn donkey is to be redeemed with a sheep, or have its neck broken.
  • Aliya Liregel: The Jewish people shall not come to see Me empty handed. They are to visit Hashem three times a year. Their property will remain protected during their visit.
  • Shabbos: You are to work for six days and rest on Shabbos from plowing and harvesting.
  • Shavuos: You are to celebrate Shavuos during the time of the wheat harvest.
  • Bikurim: You are to bring first fruits to Hashem.
  • Meat and milk: Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.


  • Hashem told Moshe to write the above words.
  1. Moshe returns with the second Luchos and a shining face:
  • Moshe was with Hashem for 40 days and nights. He did not eat bread or drink water, and he wrote on the Luchos the ten commandments, the words of the covenant.
  • Moshe descended the mountain with the two Luchos in his hand and he did not know that his face radiated due to that Hashem spoke to him. The Jewish people saw the radiance on Moshe’s face and they feared approaching him. Moshe called them and they came and Moshe commanded them all that he was told by Hashem on Har Sinai.
  • When Moshe completed speaking with them, he placed a mask on his face. When Moshe came to speak with Hashem he would remove the mask until his departure, and then go command the Jewish people that which he was told. The Jewish people would see the radiance on Moshe’s face. Moshe would return the mask to his face until his next meeting with Hashem.


[1] So is followed by Sepharadi communities and Chabad. However, Ashkenazi communities begin reading from verse 18:1.

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