Parshat Ki Tisa – March 6, 2021 – 22 Adar 5781

Parshat Ki Tisa

  • Stone Chumash, p. 484
  • Number of verses: 139

Parshat Parah*

  • Maftir: Stone Chumash, p. 838 
  • Haftorah: Ezekiel 36, Stone Chumash, p. 1216

* This is the third of four Shabbatot in which we have additional Torah readings in preparation for Passover. In ancient times, this reading would remind the public that it would be time to undergo the ritual purification of the “red-heifer ash waters,” in order to enable them to enter the Temple courts and ultimately eat the Paschal Lamb. Today we pray that we may be worthy of the coming of Moshiach and that we may undergo the same procedures ourselves.

Important Shabbat Times

  • Candle lighting:    5:44
  • Sunrise (Vasikin): 6:27:23
  • Latest Shmah:       9:21
  • Earliest Mincha:   12:44
    Havdalah:               6:41
  • Zoom Havdalah      7:00

Parshat Ki Tisa

  • Our Parsha continues where parshat Mishpatim leaves off: the aftermath of the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. It begins with the mitzvah of giving a half-shekel a year for the payment of public sacrifices and the upkeep of the Temple
  • The mitzvah of building the brass water tank
  • The mitzvah of making the anointing oil
  • The mitzvah of making the incense powder, which was offered twice a day
  • The appointment of Betzalel to build the Tabernacle
  • The laws of keeping Shabbos
  • The episode of the golden calf
  • The destruction of the Ten Commandments
  • Moshe climbs the mountain for a second “forty days and nights,” sees “the back of G-d”
  • Moshe goes up a third time with his own Ten Commandments
  • G-d announces “I have forgiven them as you requested!”
  • G-d distinguishes between the “written Torah, and the Oral Torah” 
  • Moshe returns to the people, and his face emits rays of light. He is forced to wear a mask.


G-d tells the prophet Ezekiel to exhort the people that he will redeem them not for their sake but rather for the desecration of G-d’s name among the nations.  He will purify the people as if with holy water, and will ingather all the exiles. The desolate cities will once again be inhabited, as numerous as sheep on a mountainside.

Moral of the Story

How could a people who witnessed the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, who saw the fire and the thunder, and who exclaimed, “We shall do and we shall learn!” — how could those same people worship a golden calf? According to the Midrash, that generation was not worthy of such a terrible crime, but rather Hashem allowed it to happen in order to teach future generations that no matter how far we may fall, even to the point of worshiping idols, we always have a chance to do Teshuva, and our repentance shall always be accepted! Throughout our history, many segments of our people were forced into idolatry against their will. Those among the Spanish and Portugese Jews who were able, escaped to Amsterdam, South America and Mexico. They returned to a Torah lifestyle, and are models of Yiddishkeit to this day. One day all of our exiles will be ingathered, and we will see the fulfillment of the prophecy, “No one will be banished forever.”