Ki Tzitsa

This week’s Parsha is Parshas Ki Tzitsa. In the Parsha we read of the tragic episode of the Golden Calf. When Moses was assumed by the Jewish people to have died, and therefore not returned from his ascent to Heaven, the Jews arose and constructed a Golden Calf. The Erev Rav (a group of Egyptians who had joined the Jews when they left Egypt) claimed to the Jewish people that this Golden Calf was a Deity that had taken them out of Egypt. Some Jews did in fact worship the Golden Calf. Moses when he returned and wanted to punish all those who had worshipped the Golden Calf, called out “ Who is for Hashem come join me!!” The entire tribe of Levi joined him. Subsequently, the Levites were rewarded by being chosen to replace the first born Jews as the priests to do the service in the Temple.

The famed Chofetz Chaim once pointed out that when a person today is asked, is he a priest or not, the answer is simply that he is whatever his father was. However, this was not true three thousand years ago at the time that the Golden Calf had been worshipped. At that time, those who heard the battle cry “Who is for Hashem come join me!” and did so, were chosen to be priests. Those who heard that cry and did nothing, were left as they were.

The Chofetz Chaim added, each of us has in his or her lifetime moments when a pivotal decision has to be made regarding a course of action. At that time, the opportunity to do the right thing, presents itself, and must be grabbed onto. Those who grab it are following in the footsteps of the tribe of Levi; those who don’t are not. When we are faced with a dilemma in a course of action, we must realize the tremendous ramification of the decisions that we make. Hopefully the effects of what we do will stand behind us for eternity in a positive sense.