Published on February 16, 2019
This week’s Torah portion, Ki Sissa, relates that G-d gave Moses the Tablets of the Law as soon as He finished teaching him the Torah – on the fortieth day after Moses ascended Mount Sinai. The purpose of teaching the Torah to Moses was that he, in turn, would impart it to the Jewish people; the Tablets were likewise to be given to the Jewish people.
What were the Jews doing while Moses was on Mount Sinai? As we learn in this weeks portion, on the thirty-ninth day of Moses’ absence the Jewish people made the Golden Calf, a very serious sin.
Thus we see that despite their sin, G-d continued to learn Torah with Moses so he could teach it to the Jews. G-d gave Moses the Tablets after they had made the Golden Calf.
From this, we derive a very important lesson about how to relate to other people. G-d did not stop teaching Moses when the Jews transgressed. On the contrary, He continued learning with him until the entire Torah had been taught and even gave him the Tablets of the Law.
We too must emulate G-d’s actions. If we want to have a positive influence on another person, that they strengthen their Jewish observance, the other person’s spiritual standing is irrelevant. It is forbidden to stop teaching someone Torah or cease trying to bring him closer to Judaism even if he continues to sin, G-d forbid. On the contrary, we must try even harder to exert a positive influence. And when we do, both the “giver” and the “taker” will surely benefit. Indeed, G-d acted in the same manner even when it came to the destruction of the Holy Temple.
The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed because of the sins of the Jewish people. And yet, the Jewish people were sinning for a long time before it was actually destroyed. Despite their transgressions, G-d refrained from taking this drastic step for many years.
Why? G-d wanted the Holy Temple to continue to exist for as long as possible. Although the Jews were sinning, He gave them ample opportunity to repent and prevent the destruction from occurring.
We too must always help our fellow Jew to preserve the spiritual Temple in his heart. We must never withhold spiritual aid and assistance. Even if the other person does not conduct themselves properly and sins, we must always continue to fortify their spiritual Sanctuary. In this manner, we will merit the building of both the spiritual Sanctuary that exists within every Jew, as well as the Third Holy Temple by Moshiach, speedily in our day.