This Shabbat we will read the Torah Portion “Ki Tisa” in the book of Exodus.
In this portion People of Israel are told to each contribute exactly half a shekel of silver (roughly 12 USD nowadays) to the Sanctuary.
“Wise-hearted” artisans Betzalel and Aholiav are placed in charge of the Sanctuary’s construction.
When Moses does not return when expected from Mount Sinai, the people make a golden calf and worship it.
G‑d proposes to destroy the errant nation, but Moses intercedes on their behalf. Moses descends from the mountain carrying the tablets of the testimony engraved with the Ten Commandments.
Seeing the people dancing about their idol, he breaks the tablets and destroys the golden calf.
He then returns to G‑d to say: “If You do not forgive them, blot me out from the book that You have written.”
G‑d forgives and Moses prepares a new set of tablets and once more ascends the mountain, where G‑d re-inscribes the covenant on these second tablets.
So radiant is Moses’ face upon his return, that he must cover it with a veil, which he removes only to speak with G‑d and to teach His laws to the people.
In the following verse the word ‘MASEKHA‘ appears:
They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. (Exodus 32, 8)
Let’s now take look at the word מסכה – MASEKHAH (original translation in the above context is ‘Idol Cast’)
The meaning of the word מסכה – masekha in Modern Hebrew is ‘Mask‘.
(Pay attention to the sound resemblance: Masekha – Mask).
Here are some additional words in Modern Hebrew with the same root:
MASAKH – screen – מסך
Also, MASAKH – curtain – מסך
In the following verse the Torah describes how Moshe’s face became illuminated, when he return from Mount Sinai the second time.
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses knew not that the skin of his face sent forth beams while He talked with him. (Exodus 34, 29)
There are several meaning to the word KEREN – קרן.
One of them is ‘horn’
This could be the reason why the famous Italian sculptor Michelangelo created Moses’ sculpture with horns.
However, in this context the other meaning – ‘Ray’, ‘Beam’ are the correct ones to be used.
Following are some more words with the root ‘KEREN’ that are used in Hebrew:
KEREN-OR – ‘beam of light’ – קרן אור
MAKREN – ‘projector’ – מקרן
KRINAH – ‘radiation’ – קרינה
KEREN – ‘foundation’, ‘fund’ – קרן
Now listen to a nice song “Keren-Or” performed by Ahinoam Nini.
Wishing you and your loved ones a lot of light on this Shabbat.
Yoel & Orly
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