Monday, March 5, 2007

Ki Tisa

The Torah portions of the last two weeks were less than exciting... but here in Exodus 30:11–34:35 the action returns. At the start of the parsha, Moses remains on Mt. Sinai and the Hebrews grow restless and fearful. Out of the their anxiety they encourage Aaron to find them a god... and thus the golden calf is molded. Moses returns from the mountain, he smashes the two tablets he had spent weeks transcribing and destroys the calf as well. God is angry and wishes to destroy the Hebrews but Moses defends the good Hebrews. Those who do not repent for their sins are killed; the rest are forgiven. Moses returns to the mountain for another forty days... but when he returns to the camp, he is different. Aaron and all the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses' face was radiant; and they shrank from coming near him. (Exodus 34:31) It is from this series of verses that the light eminating from Moses comes, and the misinterpretaion that Jews have horns also arises.

In Exodus 34:18 we find You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread — eating unleavened bread for seven days, as I have commanded you — at the set time of the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you went forth from Egypt. And thus the commandment to observe the holiday of Passover or Pesach is given to Moses for the Jewish People. This year, the first night of Passover is Monday April 2. Many of us are planning our seders so I will be introducing some Judaica over the next few weeks which may grace your family's table.

The centerpiece of any seder is the seder plate. While my most treasured seder plate is the one created by my older son in preschool, there are many variations on the plate which are available. Made of glass, ceramic, plastic or metal each has a separate space for the required items.
Shraga Landesman a designer of jewelry and judaica in Israel creates biblically inspired seder plates. They are from cast aluminum and I find them beautiful.

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