Weekly Torah Portion: Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35)


In this Torah portion, Moses stays with God on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. There, he is given the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. Fearing that Moses will never return, the Israelites turn to Aaron, who demands that everyone bring him their gold, so he can make a golden calf. When Moses comes down the mountain and sees the people dancing around this idol, he smashes the tablets on the ground. God punishes all the Israelites who were involved with a plague. Moses builds a tent to be his meeting place with God. Read an extensive summery on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“Counting people, and taking count of them, is radically important. And the though the Torah sets up a practice of counting men over 20 years old, as you have heard today, the great thrust of Jewish tradition reminds us that in the most significant ways, EVERYONE counts.” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2017. Read the full drash

“What are we to make of this love of Israel in light of what so many people see as its imperfections…” – A Wider Bridge’s Executive Director Arthur Slepian in 2014. Read the full drash

“I don’t know how many of you have actually touched a corpse, but I can tell you that it’s a very upsetting experience. About 30 years ago, when I was an intern at Hollywood Pres Hospital, one of my chores was to draw the early morning blood samples…” – Maggie Anton in 2004. Read the drash

“Abraham Joshua Heschel, I think it was, said that if you look into the eyes of another, deep into their eyes, you’ll see there the spark of the Divine, the spark of God’s presence. There in each other’s faces, and in our own if we look in the mirror, is the face of God, with us, as we go on our way…” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 1999. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“When all the people saw the pillar of cloud poised at the entrance of the Tent (of Meeting), all the people would rise and bow low, each at the entrance of their tent.” (Ki Tisa, Exodus 33:10)

Other Suggested Readings

Where does the expression “Break the rules” come from? Rabbi Lisa Edwards writes in the Jewish Journal. Read here

The children of Israel had just witnessed God’s awesome power at Mount Sinai. And now they worship a Golden Calf. How could they?! Read more on our Telephone Torah Study archive from 2013

The Union of Reform Judaism offers up two interesting commentaries on Ki Tisa: ‘When Moses Is with God for 40 Days and 40 Nights, It’s Back to the Idols’ by Peter S. Knobel and ‘Take Two Tablets…Please!’ by Jeffrey Salkin. Read it on our Telephone Torah Study archive from 2014

Ashira Weinreich became a bat mitzvah in 2014 and chanted 3 aliyot from Ki Tisa. Read an interview with her


*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by Rabbi Lisa Edwards during Tuesday’s Torah studies. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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