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Friday, Adar 17, 5783 (Hakhel Year) / March 10, 2023


This Shabbat we read the third of the four special Torah readings at this time of the year.  Two readings are read before Purim (Shkalim & Zachor) and two before Pesach (Parah & Hachodesh).


We remove two Torahs from the ark this Shabbat.  In the first we read the weekly Torah portion, Ki Tisa.  In the second Torah we read Parshat Parah – the laws of the Red Heifer. It is about the spiritual purification process for someone who became impure as a result of coming in contact with a dead body. Thus, they are prohibited from entering the Beth Hamikdash (Holy Temple) and bringing a sacrifice.


Q.What is the connection between the reading of Parshat Parah and the holiday of Pesach?


A.In the days of the Holy Temple every Jew was supposed to share in the mitzvah of the Passover sacrifice. The process of the Para Aduma was to purify a Jew who was spiritual unclean, so that he too will be able to bring sacrifices. Being that every Jew had to have a share in the Pesach sacrifice and eat of its meat, we read from the Torah about the spiritual purification process.


In the weekly Torah portion, Ki Tisa, we read about the sin of the Golden Calf which the Jewish people made in the desert. This resulted in Moshe’s breaking The Tablets when he came down Mount Sinai and witnessed them worshipping the idol.  Moshe went back up the mountain to pray for their forgiveness which G-d granted. He told Moshe to bring up another set of Tablets and He once again engraved The Ten Commandments. The broken Tablets were placed in the Holy Ark together with The Second Tablets.


Q.   How long after The Giving of the Torah did they make the Golden Calf?


A. Forty days later, because they thought that Moshe was staying on the mountain and not coming back.  


Q.   How many times did Moshe go up Mount Sinai and for how long did he stay there?


A.  Moshe went up three times!  The first time was when G-d gave The Torah.  He stayed on the mountain for forty days and broke The Tablets on his way down when he saw the Golden Calf.  He went up again and stayed for forty days praying for forgiveness, which G-d granted.  Then G-d told him to bring up two new Tablets, which he did.  He went up with The Tablets for another forty days and came down with them on which G-d engraved The Ten Commandments again.  He was up for a total of 120 days.


Q.On what day did Moshe come down with The First Tablets and on which day with the Second Tablets?


A.  The First Tablets on the 17th day of Tammuz.  The Second Tablets on Yom Kippur.


Q.    What were the differences between the first and second Tablets? 


A.    The First Tablets were completely the work of G-d.  The Tablets and the engraving were Divine.  The Second Tablets were a mix; Moshe brought up the Tablets with him and G-d fixed His writing on them.




Montreal candle lighting time: 5:35 / Shabbat ends: 6:38