The Darkest Day in the History of Judaism?

When Israelites who stood for God were ordered to kill their fellows who had stood for the Golden Calf.

From The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin, 1633. National Gallery.

From The Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicolas Poussin, 1633. National Gallery.

Atar Hadari
Observation
March 16 2017
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


This week’s Torah reading of Ki Tissa (Exodus 30:11-34:35) is built around the story of the sin of the Golden Calf, which represents either the heart of darkness or an inspirational example of childrearing through trial and error. I once compared the relationship between the Almighty and Moses with that of a comedy team in which Moses plays the straight man. Here, however, they seem not so much a comic duo as a married couple who, when they have to discuss something in considerable depth, leave the children in the care of Uncle Aaron.

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More about: Golden calf, Religion & Holidays, The Monthly Portion