Torah Teachings for Sabbath (Ki Tissa)


“Six days you will work, but on the seventh day you are to rest — even in plowing time and harvest season you are to rest.” – Exodus 34:21 (Taken from this week’s Torah Portion)

2. Internet Teachings and Groups

a. Friday:

YHWH Exists with Jodell Onstott at 9:30pm (EST). Here Jodell Onstott will conduct readings with excellent teachings from here book YHWH Exists. Just so you know, it is not necessary to have the book, to join the study and the open chat. Simply click onto Jodell’s site and have her lead you through this stirring study about YHWH. She also will post the link on her page…

b. Saturday:

Talking Torah with Jeff Gilbert at 10:30am (EST). Simply click onto the “24/7 Talking Torah” on the homepage then click onto “Talking Torah Chat” for excellent worship music and thought provoking teachings. Also on the homepage click “Talking Torah Chat” and engage Jeff with questions while communicating with other likeminded believers.

3. Torah Portion.  These are some notes and aids to help study out this week’s Torah portion:

Torah Portion 21, Ki Tissa (when you take)

Exodus 30:11–34:35,


Last Week’s Torah Portion: Tetzaveh (Your command) 

  • Priestly Clothing
  • Dedication of the Priests
  • The Alter
  • Overview of the Sacrifices

Audio Lecture:

Talking Torah Live! Ki-Tissa, If you believe Moses…

Parshah Class: Ki Tisa, By Baruch Epstein

Great G-dcast Video for Kids and Adults:

Parshat Ki Tisa: Seeing the Golden Calf

1st Exodus 30:11-16 Money for the Tabernacle

V12 “…pay a ransom for his life to Adonai…”

People who were at the age of accountability (20) owed their lives to God.

V13 Israel took a census:

Over 1,400 years later King David would be punished with plagues for taking a census (2 Samuel 24:1-25).  So what was the difference?  A possibility is that if a count was made without receiving the ransom money, the census would have communicated the idea that a king or a human leader owned Israel, when God alone did. (David Guzik)

V13 Worth of a half shekel.

Many might believe that a shekel was a coin.  It was probably a piece of silver whose weight was a shekel.

The first coins would not become invented until 700-600 BCE, over 700 years later.

Exodus 30:24 notes that the measures of the ingredients for the holy anointing oil were to be calculated using the Shekel of the Sanctuary

At today’s rate of approximately 17 US dollars per ounce, 8 grams of silver is around five dollars. –  Rabbi Eliezer Posner

V15 “the rich is not to give more or the poor less than the half-shekel when giving Adonai’s offering to atone for your lives.”

This could signify that all souls were equally precious in the sight of God, and that no difference of outward circumstances could affect the state of the soul; all had sinned, and all must be redeemed by the same price.” (Clarke)

V16 “…use it (the half shekels) for the service in the tent of meeting…”

“It must have weighed something over four tons, and this was dedicated to the use of the tabernacle: the special application of the precious metal was to make sockets into which the boards which made the walls of the tabernacle should be placed.” (Spurgeon)

2nd Exodus 30:17-38 (End) the Washbasin, Anointing Oil and the Incense

V18 “You are to make a basin of bronze (for washing) …”

Bronze, which is a copper alloy, has antimicrobial properties which kills germs.  This was discovered in 1893, over 3,000 years after God told Israel to make these basins for washing.  –  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

V23-26 Recipe for anointing oil (it would make about 7 gallons).  Many of the ingredients have an antibacterial quality. 


  1. Pure Myrrh – 500 shekels (about 12 ½ – 15 pounds):Myrrh kills bacteria and possesses anti-fungal properties. It can keep microbes from growing in your body and causing an infection.
  2. Cassia – 500 shekels (about 12 ½ – 15 pounds):Cassia is just like cinnamon but sweeter. It supplements or replaces most cinnamon because it’s cheaper. Cassia has antibacterial and antifungal properties like myrrh. However, when applied to the skin, cassia can sometimes cause skin irritation. This might explain Exodus 30:32 where it’s says “It shall not be poured upon human flesh…”
  3. Fragrant Cinnamon – 250 shekels (about 6 ¼ – 7 ½ pounds):True Cinnamon is harder to get than Cassia. Maybe this is why it was used with Cassia. This simple household spice has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. This, along with the others, would have been an exceptional way to keep germs down and communicable diseases away.
  4. Calamus – 250 shekels (about 6 ¼ – 7 ½ pounds):Calamus has been esteemed as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic (8). Its oil is also used in the production of perfumes.
  5. Olive Oil – 1 Hin (almost a gallon):Olive oils do contain high levels antioxidants but it’s primary role in this recipe was probably a binding agent that helped the other ingredients mix. It was used throughout history as a base for perfumes and oils.


The Aromatherapy for these Essential Oils:

  • Myrrh: Scent black licorice, promotes centering, meditative.
  • Cassia: Scent sweet cinnamon, promotes comfort, energizing
  • Cinnamon: Scent (obvious), promotes refreshing, vitalizing
  • Calamus: Scent a spicy odor: promotes calmness, harmony

By William Jackson, Recipe for Anointing Oil, probable reasons behind ingredients, Center for Tanakh Based Studies, March 9, 2015

V34 Recipe for incense

aromatic plant substances/ fragrant spices

  1. balsam resin/resin droplets: Used in perfumes and in medicinal preparations.
  2. sweet onycha root/ mollusk shell: Unknown ingredient (three possibilities)
  3. bitter galbanum gum: Used in perfumes and also has many health benefits.
  4. Frankincense: Used in perfumery and aromatherapy

Where so many sacrifices were offered it was essentially necessary to have some pleasing perfume to counteract the disagreeable smells that must have arisen from the slaughter of so many animals, the sprinkling of so much blood, and the burning of so much flesh.” (Clarke)

V35 Incense is to be salted

“This ‘salting’ of the mixture was probably designed to secure rapid burning, through the addition of sodium chloride. Perhaps it was also done for the preservative value of the salt.” (Cole)

V33, 38 If someone makes the anointing oil or incense for their own personal use they will be cut off from the people.

3rd Exodus 31:1-11 Craftsmen: Bezalel and Oholiab

V3 “I have filled him with the Spirit of God…”

The word used for “spirit” is “ruach” which is “God’s spirit.  The soul has three parts the ruach is one of them.

V6 “…Moreover, I have endowed all the craftsmen with the wisdom to make everything I have ordered you”

Bezalel and Oholiab were not the only people that God placed His ruach on.

V11 “…they are to make everything just as I have ordered you.”

Remember, although God made Bezalel and Oholiab responsible these men did teach other how to do it (Exodus 35:34).

4th Exodus 31:12-18 (End) Instructions for the Sabbath

V13 “…You are to observe my Shabbats…”

This command was strategically placed – at the very end of all the commands to build the tabernacle. Though God gave Israel a work to do in building the tabernacle He did not want them to do that work on the Sabbath. (David Guzik)

V18 “…tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”

Thus the expression “written in stone”

5th Exodus 32:1-29 The Gold Calf

V1 “…make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.”

The golden calf was to replace Moses not God

By William Jackson, The Golden Moses, Center for Tanakh Based Studies, March 6, 2015

V4 “He received what they gave him, melted it down, and made it into the shape of a calf…”

So why a calf?

Calf is not a good translation of the Hebrew “egel”. A young bull in his first strength is meant: for instance, the word can describe a three-year-old animal (Genesis 15:9).”

The bull had an important role in the art and religious texts of the ancient Near East. The storm-god *Hadad is frequently represented standing on a bull. (Encyclopedia Judaica: The Golden Calf)

Maybe a calf was chosen instead of a bull because it was smaller.  Moses was obvious less significant than God – smaller.

V10 “…I can put an end to them (the Israelites)! I will make a great nation out of you instead.”

God was going to destroy Israel for worshipping the golden calf.  He was going to start a new nation through Moses like He did Abraham.

V11-14 Moses pleaded with God, changes His mind

Moses showed the compassion for other people like Abraham did for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).  Unlike Noah, who we have no record of him pleading for the lives of the people.  The lesson here is that God wants us to have empathy towards our fellow man.

V19 “…He threw down the tablets he had been holding and shattered them…”

Who was the first person to break all time commandments at once? Moses.

Note: Sadly, over 1,400 years later this incident would repeat itself through King Jeroboam with the division of Israel’s Kingdom (1 Kings 12:26–30).

V20 “he made the people of Israel drink it (The golden calf)”

Possibly for any or all of these reasons:

  • To show that the so-called god was nothing and could be destroyed easily
  • To completely obliterate this idol
  • To make the people pay an immediate consequence of their sin
  • To make the gold of the idol absolutely unusable, being corrupted with bodily waste.

“The gold dust sprinkled on the water of the wady, flowing down from the mountain, the water that Israel must drink, reminds us of the ‘water of bitterness’ to be drunk by the wife suspected of unfaithfulness (Numbers 5:18-22).” (Cole)

V21 “Moshe said to Aharon, “What did these people do to you to make you lead them into such a terrible sin?”

Aaron’s sin was so great that only the intercession of Moses saved his life. And the Lord was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. (Deuteronomy 9:20)

6th Exodus 32:30-33:11 Moses Intercedes for Israel

V32 if you won’t (forgive them), then, I beg you, blot me out of your book which you have written!”

V33-34 (God held accountable those that sinned)

God does not allow other people to pay for our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:16 “Fathers are not to be executed for the children, nor are children to be executed for the fathers; every person will be executed for his own sin.” (also 2 Kings 14:6, Ezekiel 18:18, 20, 26)

The Christian NT states differently: John 1:29, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:24

V11” Adonai would speak to Moshe face to face…”

This was probably figurative, read the rest of the verse “…as a man speaks to his friend…”

7th Exodus 33:12-23  (End) Moses Sees the Lord’s Glory

V13 (Moses speaking) “…Moreover, keep on seeing this nation as your (God’s) people.”

Moses appears to notice that God started to refer to the Israelites as Moses’ people not God’s.

Exodus 32:7 Adonai said to Moshe, “Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt!

In this verse Moses appears to be appealing to God, reminding Him that Israel is God’s chosen people.

V20 (God speaking) “…my face,” he continued, “you cannot see, because a human being cannot look at me and remain alive”

This confirms that V11 is figurative.

8th Exodus 34:1-35 A New Copy of the Covenant 

V6 “…rich in grace …”

The word translated gracious comes from the idea “to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, or to bestow” (Erwin). It is grace, giving to the undeserving

V13 “…you are to demolish their (Canaanite) altars, smash their standing-stones and cut down their sacred poles

As previously stated in Exodus 23:24, showing that the culture of the Canaanites was so corrupt that it was beyond redemption. God did not want Israel to assume any of the sinful practices found in the culture of the Canaanites.

V17 (God) “Do not cast metal gods for yourselves”

The repetition of this command (the idea is in Exodus 20:4, the second commandment) was especially meaningful in light of the golden calf debacle.

V19 “Everything that is first from the womb is mine…”

Here God repeated the laws regarding the firstborn and their dedication to Him, first stated in Exodus 13:11-13 and 22:29-30.

Later God would take the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn (Numbers 3:45-47)

As a point of reference God did call Israel his firstborn (Exodus 4:22).

V23 “Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Lord, Adonai, the God of Isra’el.”

God commanded that at three feasts each year (Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles), each Israelite man should gather before the Lord (Exodus 23:14-17).


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