Parshas: Ki Sisa
The portion begins with G-d’s command to Moses to take a census by collecting an equal contribution of a half-shekel coin from every adult male between the ages of 20 and 60, with the profits going to the Mishkan (Tabernacle). G-d designates Betzalel, of the tribe of Judah, and Oholiav, of the tribe of Dan, to supervise the upcoming construction of the Mishkan. The mitzvah of Shabbat is then repeated to caution the nation that even the construction of the Mishkan does not supersede the observance of the weekly day of rest. The Torah returns to the narrative of the Revelation at Mt. Sinai and describes the horrible sin of the golden calf. G-d relents to Moses’ prayer that the Children of Israel should be spared from annihilation for this great transgression, and Moses descends from the mountain with the two tablets of the Ten Commandments in hand.
Upon witnessing a small segment of the population dancing around the golden calf, Moses smashes the tablets and burns the idol, initiating the process of repentance. Moses again ascends the mountain to pray to G-d that the Jewish people should be forgiven and regain their status as the chosen people. Moses eventually returns with the second set of tablets and a renewed covenant with G-d, his face radiant as a result of the Divine experience.