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Truth and Empathy
The Balancing Act of Leadership
Golden craft. [Ki-Tisah]

The Torah portion of "Ki Tisa" is the Parsha of crisis. It's a Parsha of crisis in the process of revelation. Initially, God gave the tablets of the covenant, and everything seemed in order. However, we see that the people of Israel need to meet the requirements expected of them, as evidenced by their creation of the golden calf, which they worship and sacrifice. This results in the shattering of the tablets. But there's a remedy; after these actions, the second tablets are given following a request for forgiveness and atonement, demonstrating that mistakes can be rectified. The essence of our Parsha is that although there are mistakes, they can be corrected.

How did this mistake of the golden calf happen? It's pretty simple: Moses and Aaron are accustomed to working together - Moses outlines the direct path, and Aaron outlines the path of correction for those who have sinned. But what happens when Moses is atop the mountain and Aaron is below? There's a disconnect between Moses and Aaron, and Aaron finds himself in a situation where people ask to sin. What does the educator do when he sees his disciple faltering? One option is to say, "I don't agree with this fall; I set the truth, and that's it." This is one option. Aaron, the priest's educational strategy is different. He says we must participate with the sinner in their sin and then elevate them. There's danger in this pedagogy, but it's also told of Aaron, the priest who loved creatures and brought them closer to the Torah.

Aaron does not compromise on the fundamental principles of Moses' Torah. But he knows how to approach sinners. And from this, we learn for generations. Because when conveying divine messages and educational messages in general, there's always a need to maintain two paths. One path of absolute truth-telling is what Moses does when he descends from the mountain and burns the calf. In contrast, the second path involves knowing how to participate to some extent in the actions of the person faltering to raise and correct them. The connection made during the Parsha between Moses and Aaron shows that this combination ultimately wins, bringing rectification to the world.

How can you keep in touch with people not on a comfortable path while staying true to your principles?

פרשות נוספות

Admiration & Jealousy: The Duality of Balaam's Prophecy

In Parshat Balak, Balaam, a renowned prophet among nations, embodies the complex mix of admiration and jealousy towards Israel. Though intending to curse Israel, he ultimately blesses them, illustrating Divine inspiration and prophecy's influence. This paradoxical attitude reflects broader themes of anti-Semitism and the favored child's psychoanalytic response. The Torah emphasizes hope, as prophecy in the synagogue signifies potential Divine influence on all humanity, supported by the Midrash Tanna D'bei Eliyahu's assertion of the Holy Spirit's universal accessibility.

Mortality EterniFrom Mortality to Eternity: The Red Cow’s Path to Purificationty Purification

In Parshat Hukat, the red cow (para aduma) ritual symbolizes purification from the impurity of death, rooted in the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. The ritual involves mixing ashes with living water, representing the body and soul, illustrating life's restoration through resurrection. This process, despite its symbolic clarity, underscores a Divine mystery — the transition between life and death remains beyond human comprehension. The Midrash highlights the red cow's secret, emphasizing the profound and unfathomable nature of resurrection and Divine Will

Redefining Leadership: What Korah's Rebellion Teaches Us Today

Korah’s rebellion against Moshe and Aharon, joined by Datan, Aviram, and 250 incense offerers, highlights the complex dynamics of Biblical disputes and legitimate leadership. Korah’s high status contrasts with the petty scheming of Datan and Aviram, illustrating how leadership is contested. Their challenge arose after the breaking of the Tablets, arguing that Moshe and Aharon had disqualified themselves. This story teaches us not to hastily reject leadership over perceived mistakes, as such actions can fulfill the Divine Will. The rebellion teaches us lessons regarding leadership and Divine choice

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