This week's portion tells about Moses breaking the First Tablets and G‑d ordering the making of the second set. What was the difference between the two sets, and how does it impact on us today? Whereas the First Tablets were completely made by G‑d, Moses carved out the second set; even though G‑d later engraved the Tablets, Moses made them. The inference is that even though the first set was smashed because of the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses, acting as our representative, was given the task of making the Second Tablets because the Jewish people's repentance was accepted.

...the tablets were like a marriage contract….

In his commentary, Rashi quotes the Talmudic teaching that G‑d appreciated Moses for breaking the Tablets, saying, "Thank you for breaking the Tablets!" He explains that the Tablets were like a marriage contract between us and G‑d. Breaking the Tablets at the time of the Golden Calf was like breaking the engagement, so that the punishment for being unfaithful to G‑d would be limited. Even still, Rashi should congratulate Moses for saving the Jewish people, but why the praise for breaking the Tablets?

When the Jewish people received the Torah, it was because G‑d chose and elevated us from all the other nations. When a person feels chosen and elevated, he feels good about himself. He does not feel he is lacking anything, and this perception is not conducive to Torah learning. To learn you have to feel that you are low and lacking, that you need what you are about to study - "My soul is like dust to all".

How do you get an entire people to go from feeling elevated to feeling humble? This is the meaning of the statement "Thank you for breaking the Tablets!" above. When Moses broke the Tablets, he made each and every single Jewish person feel lowly, broken hearted. And through this broken heart, he opened them up to the study of Torah without limitation for all time, making them a true vessel for the Torah they received. A narrow strait opens up to a broad avenue. the Second Tablets were included all of the power of the events that preceded them.

Furthermore, this is why G‑d commanded Moses to form the Second Tablets: "for yourself", implying "for your own benefit". Since the destruction of the first set was due to Moses' intuition and foresight, the forming of the second set was his reward. This is because in the Second Tablets were included all of the power of the events that preceded them.

Purim and Ki Tisa always occur at the same time of year (on a non-leap year).It is at this time that each and every Jew is strengthened by the renewed reception of the Torah (as happened during Purim), as well as the humbling experience of the breaking of the tablets by Moses. And through our repentance, we will be able to learn Torah in the most effective and powerful way, thereby bringing Mashiach right away.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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