Exodus 30:11-34:35

Exodus chapter 30, verse 11 to chapter 34, verse 35


Moses is on Mount Sinai. God is talking to him. This is how Ki Tisa begins. God commands Moses to take a census of the Israelites. Each person would contribute half a shekel to help pay for the costs of running the Tabernacle. God then tells Moses how to build a copper wash bowl and stand for the priests, who are Aaron and his sons. This is where they will wash before entering the Tabernacle. Special oil and incense

God then tells Moses that two craftsmen, Bezalel and Oholiab, are to be put in charge of building the Tabernacle, the Ark and the priestly uniforms. Moses is told to remind the people that even though building the Sanctuary is important, they must not work on Shabbat because it is a sign of the covenant between Israel and God. It is the most important day.

When God is finished telling all this to Moses, he is given the Tablets of the Law, where the Ten commandments are written by God. Moses begins his descent, to discover that trouble awaits him.

Moses has been on the mountain for a long time. The people were impatient, and fearful. They ask Aaron to make them a god to worship, like they saw in Egypt. Aaron collects gold from the people and builds a golden calf. The people begin to celebrate, worshiping the idol and celebrating wildly.

Meanwhile, back on the mountain, Moses continues to descend when God informs him of what’s going on below. God tells Moses that the people can be destroyed and Moses’s descendants would become a great nation. Moses reminds God of the covenant made to Abraham and pleads with God to spare the people. God agrees.

Moses gets to the bottom of the mountain and he sees the wild party that is going on around the golden calf. He is so angry, he shatters the Tablets of the Law on the ground. Moses destroys the calf, yells at Aaron, and the people are punished…3000 die. After the people repent Moses carves two new tablets,upon which God inscribes The Law. Moses returns to the mountain for another 40 days and nights. Upon his return to the camp, his face glows from his encounters with God, so he wears a veil to cover his face, so as not to frighten the people.

Torah Portion in English

11) The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12) When you take a census of the Israelite people according to their enrollment, each shall pay the Lord a ransom for himself on being enrolled, that no plague may come upon them through their being enrolled. 13) This is what everyone who is entered in the records shall pay: a half-shekel by the sanctuary weight—twenty gerahs to the shekel—a half-shekel as an offering to the Lord. 14) Everyone who is entered in the records, from the age of twenty years up, shall give the Lord‘s offering: 15) the rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than half a shekel when giving the Lord‘s offering as expiation for your persons. 16) You shall take the expiation money from the Israelites and assign it to the service of the Tent of Meeting; it shall serve the Israelites as a reminder before the Lord, as expiation for your persons.

17) The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18) Make a laver of copper and a stand of copper for it, for washing; and place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar. Put water in it, 19) and let Aaron and his sons wash their hands and feet [in water drawn] from it. 20) When they enter the Tent of Meeting they shall wash with water, that they may not die; or when they approach the altar to serve, to turn into smoke an offering by fire to the Lord, 21) they shall wash their hands and feet, that they may not die. It shall be a law for all time for them—for him and his offspring—throughout the ages.

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. How was Moses supposed to conduct the census?
  2. Before Aaron and his sons entered the Tent of Meeting what did they have to do?
  3. What does the word “consecrated” mean? How were all the items in the Tent of Meeting consecrated?
  4. Who did God tell Moses would be in charge of constructing the Sanctuary?
  5. What did the people do when Moses didn’t return? Why?
  6. Who built the golden calf? What were the people’s roles in the calf’s construction?
  7. How was Aaron’s description of how the calf was made different than what really happened?
  8. What did God tell Moses as the people were celebrating around the calf? What was Moses’s response?
  9. What did Moses do to the golden calf?
  10. What did Moses do when he saw the golden calf?