Article Summaries of Editors' Picks

Traveling Blues
The Zohar
Rabbi Yossi said to Rabbi Chiya that when the Jews enter synagogues and study halls and see the words of comfort of the prophets, this gladdens their hearts and enables them to bear all the suffering of this exile. Rabbi Chiya said, "Certainly this is the case, but everything depends on their returning to the spiritual source and repenting."
Fixing the Mixing
The Holy Ari
The Sages note that it was the "Mixed Multitude" of non-Jews that accompanied the Jews in their exodus from Egypt who instigated the idolatry of the Golden Calf. The Arizal explains that they were indeed meant to be elevated eventually, since they contained sparks of holiness, but Moses tried to do this prematurely.
Contribution of Maturity
Mystical Classics
A person is not yet mature enough emotionally and intellectually to successfully battle the evil urge and to appreciate G-d's message to man until age 20. Therefore, teenagers were not required to pay the half-shekel ransom, although they also participated in the Golden Calf episode.
Sins, Snakes, & Golden Calf
Chasidic Masters
Man, essentially, has no connection to sin. The Zohar thus reads the verse, "When a soul sins" as an exclamation of surprise - "a soul that sins?!" The whole concept of sin is introduced because G-d in His great kindness wants to bring man to an even greater level.
Take Two Tablets and Call Me…
Contemporary Kabbalists
During Moses' first sojourn in the heavens when receiving the first tablets, his 40-day-fast was a miracle; he remained human and yet existed without food or drink. In contrast, Moses' 2nd sojourn was a time of divine displeasure, yet he was so entranced by the study of Torah that he was oblivious to his bodily needs.

When Moses received the Second Tablets it was a time of divine good will. As they were less miraculous than the first, similarly, Moses' fast then was also less miraculous; he acclimated to the heavenly climate and did not need food - during this sojourn, he was an angel.
Broken Open
Broken Open
Ascent Lights
When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the Tablets of the Covenant, he saw the Jewish people sinning with the Golden Calf. He then threw down and broke the Tablets. These First Tablets had only the Ten Commandments. The Second Tablets had in addition the entire Oral Torah: all of the commentaries, explicit Jewish law, Midrash, and Agada's.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that when Moses broke the Tablets for all to see, so, too, the haughty spirit of the Jewish people was broken and they immediately became fit to receive all of the Torah - the Tablets as well as the details of Jewish Law and all its commentaries.
The Precious Coin
Mystic Stories
A holy half-shekel reveals the importance of judging one’s fellow favorably.
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