A Golden Bomb

Ki Sisa

Moshe descended Mt. Sinai and witnessed the people worshiping the Golden Calf, he shattered the tablets at the foot of the mountain. He then incinerated the calf, till it was a fine powder, which he then scattered on the water. Moshe proceeded to make the Jewish people drink the “Water Calf” solution.

The Talmud teaches that Moshe made them drink, based on a law he gleaned from the procedure of the suspected adulteress women. The Sotah is tested as to her fidelity by drinking a cocktail which contained three components. It had water from the Kiyor, earth from the Mishkan and the erased ink of a Kosher Scroll. On imbibing this drink, should she be guilty, she would explode . 

Question

Here we have two supernatural spiritual methods of expunging hidden evil, except that the ingredients seem like opposites. When the Sotah drinks the “explosive” material it is concocted from holy sources, Kiyor water, Scrolls containing Hashem’s name and earth from the Mishkan. However when producing the drink in the aftermath of the Eigel, none other that the idol itself is the litmus test to evidence their faithfulness

Answer

Idolatry and Adultery are incomparable. Marriage is truly a spiritual concept. Marriage is where two individuals fuse together to form a new entity. The bond  that attaches them is the Divine presence which resides in the marriage. Therefore where adultery is suspected, a possible lack of commitment between the parties, Hashem – the bond – is called to resolve the schism, for better or worse. For this purpose it is necessary to erase Hashem’s holy name in water to screen the woman.

Looking around our world the sophistication all point to a creator. DNA, eco systems, microorganisms and many more wonders all point to Hashem. This is commonly known as the Design Approach to knowing Hashem. In truth if one delves into any item one will find the Creator. The primary sin of the Golden Calf was the traces of idolatry that it bore. When providing them a drink to ascertain their fidelity to Hashem, it isn’t necessary to erase G-d’s name from a Sefer Torah, every shard of metal, even be it from an idol, screams “There is one G-d”. 

Lesson

Whether it’s a hair follicle, a blade of grass,  or a yogurt they all scream “There is a Hashem”.

Story

While in London England, I attended the Daf-Yomi shiur of Rabbi Shimon Winegarten, and he once recited a story about AGG. Everybody was perplexed as to the identity of AGG, but Reb Shimon didn’t keep the suspense for long. AGG stand for Any Given Godol. The following anecdote is an “AGG tale”:

A scholar once asked his students “Do you believe in Hashem?”.

The pupils were astounded. “Why of course we believe in Hashem” they answered, nervous as to what had made the Rabbi think that there was something lacking in their faith.

“Well I don’t believe in Hashem” replied the Rav.

The students were now truly puzzled, had the Rav perhaps lost his mind, some of the more courageous pupils questioned incredulously “Does the Rav really not believe in Hashem? Doesn’t the Rav not recite the Shema morning and night”.

Replied the wise teacher “Do you believe you are alive, No, you know that you are alive, and when I see the sophistication of design in the world I don’t believe in Hashem I know Hashem”.

Weekly Halachah

In general, a gentile on Shabbos cannot perform any work on behalf of Jew, that the Jew cannot do himself.

1 Comment

  1. Freud argued that religion was a neurosis. Jung considered the absence of religion, belief in a greater power, was the existential root of human distress. Jung was dismissed for being psychotic, for he exclaimed in response to the question if he believed in G-d “I KNOW G-d”!

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