Weekly Inspiration

Why Did We Worship The Golden Calf?
February 29th, 2024
Why Did We Worship The Golden Calf?

What a parsha

How could Am Yisroel break down and worship an idol so soon after they had personally witnessed the greatest miracles since the Creation! 

The tragedy is unbearable, but, lest we look back arrogantly and say, “How could they have brought the eigel after all they had seen,” we have to know that we ourselves are suffering from this very sickness today! 

Let’s try to get to the basics.

In Mitzraim Am Yisroel had seen the most dramatic and clear manifestation of Hashem’s Existence since the Days of Creation. As our Sages say, “[Even] a maidservant saw at the sea what [the prophet] Yechezkel ben Buzi did not see.” (Mechilta Beshallach) The miracles were clear, and yet …. 

How could we forget so quickly? 

We all really know why … because it happens today! The same thing!

I personally have seen so many miracles. I am not a novi, but, if one looks back on one’s life, it is so clear that Hashem is taking personal care of us constantly. I write about these things. How I met my wife, for example, which I describe in my book, “From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul.” It was all impossible … and yet it happened! During my life I have been faced by countless situations that looked impossible, yet Hashem held my hand. Before I even believed that He existed, He was holding my hand. 

But we forget!

This is what happened in the Midbar. We forgot what Hashem did for us. 

Here, in the year 5784, we are making the same mistake! Hashem has made mountains of miracles for us! Two thousand years ago, our Temple was burned and we were exiled from our beautiful Land, thrown to the lions. There is no logical reason why we should have survived as a distinct Nation, especially a Nation attached to the Torah. We should have disappeared a million times over. And yet, we are today a distinct entity among the nations, so distinct in fact that we are the focus of all the world’s attention! 

They want to eliminate us, G-d forbid. Hashem’s Name is upon us, and they do not want to acknowledge Hashem’s Existence. They want to continue their lawless lifestyle. Our very presence reminds them of Hashem’s laws and so they hate us. 

For this reason, Hashem needs to save us every minute. Every Jew who exists today is a walking miracle. That means … every second we should be filled with gratitude to Hashem for saving us. 

But we forget Him, and that is how we can worship an eigel. 

The crisis in Gaza began after a year of terrible disunity in Israel. I am going to say something unpleasant, but I believe it needs to be said. It’s not only the liberals who are responsible for disunity; it’s all of us. The so-called “religious” Yid is also responsible. Extreme people on every side have pushed each other. 

The result is sinas chinom … tragic disunity and discord.

For our survival, we need to be one, united. 

You cannot push your brother around. There is something more important than political policy, and that is called “achdus … unity.” We received the Torah because we were united. At Har Sinai we remembered that we were all the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, one family. When we remember our fathers and mothers, then we can also remember our Father in Shomayim, Avinu Malkeinu, our Father and King. 

My friends, our survival is totally at stake. The haters are focusing on us at this very moment. We need to know that only our dependance on Hashem will save us. Dovid Hamelech says, “all the nations surround me … b’shaim Hashem amilam … In the Name of Hashem I cut them down!” (Tehillim 118) 

There is a beautiful Shabbos song called “Kari bon,” in which we call out to Hashem to “save Your sheep from the mouth of the lions and bring Your people out of exile, the people that You chose from all the nations!”

Do you know where this song was written? 

In Gaza! 

The Rav of Gaza, Rabbi Moshe ben Yisroel Najara, wrote this song five hundred years ago! Gaza is part of Eretz Yisroel and all of Israel is holy. We will succeed, with Hashem’s help, in restoring kedusha to all of Israel, but we need to be united! 

When we are One, then Hashem’s Name will be One. “On that day He will be One and His Name One” (Zecharia 14:9; Aleinu)

May we greet the Redeemer soon in our days!


Am Yisroel: The People of Israel
Dovid Hamelech: King David
Eigel: Golden calf
Midbar: Biblical Sinai Desert
Mitzraim: Ancient Egypt 
Novi: Prophet
Shomayim: Heaven
Yechezkel ben Buzi: The Prophet Ezekiel

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