WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Ki Tissa

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism


This week’s Torah reading, Parashat Ki Tissa, illustrates what occurs when people get impatient, lose their faith, and need something visible to turn to for support – the story of the Golden Calf.

The Children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt and were never impacted by the Ten Plagues that the Egyptians had to endure. They walked through the Sea of Reeds, which miraculously divided for them – could they have had a little patience, and not lost hope and faith that Moses would return to them from Mount Sinai? They had to go and build the Golden Calf!? And Moses had to lose his temper and break the two Tablets – God’s Holy Words! Chutzpah! But this is all human nature – isn’t it?

We all can be impatient, no matter how much we try not to be. At some point in our lives, we all have waited for something – whether it was a return call, email, or text, and waited and waited, and said – forget it – if they do not get back to me by x date, I am never talking to that person again. However, we need to give each person the benefit of the doubt – perhaps the person had something else going on, preventing them from responding. We have never walked in another’s shoes. The Children of Israel were scared. Their leader Moses was gone, and they did not know what to do, so they built an idol for themselves, the Golden Calf. Perhaps Moses was both in awe of being in God’s presence while receiving the Ten Commandments and scared to leave, and then, what disappointment to see that the Children of Israel had immediately betrayed one of the commandments by making the Golden Calf. Lessons for us all – We never know what is going on in someone else’s life. So, give someone the benefit of the doubt.

Additionally, I suggest that, before we react, or act, we should take into consideration one of my favorite Rick Recht songs, “Star Song” –



Take a Deep Breath.

And Relax.

And then decide what should be done next, before a golden calf is built, or tablets are thrown.

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.