This week's Torah portion is from Exodus 30:11 through 34:35 and is called Ki Tisa, which means "when you take." It refers to the census that Moses was instructed to take of the people of Israel. G-d's instruction was, however, not so much a commandment to count the people as it was to allow each person to make atonement for his soul. Each one who was counted was to give a half shekel. No one was to give more nor was anyone to give less. In this way, G&-d demonstrated that although in our lives there are many different stages and positions, our souls are all equal to the Holy One. This one lesson is one that we would all do well to remember. In the eyes of G-d, who looks upon our hearts, there is no preference of one person over another and as we look upon the faces of those to whom He sends us, we would be wise to see them as He does.
In verse2 22 through 33 deals with one of my favorite topics, holy anointing oil. Please allow me a few minutes to deal with just one aspect that you may have never considered before. Why these certain ingredients for the Holy Anointing Oil? Is there more then meets the eye of the quick reader of this scripture? Of course!
To learn of the deeper things of G-d, one should read His word as He spoke it. So, let’s look at the meaning of the very words He used in the Hebrew understood by Moses.
Hebrew: Mar, which means bitter. It is the primary ingredient after the olive oil, and its highest value is to preserve the aromas of the other scents.
Hebrew: Kinamon, which means upright.
Although there is twelve times as much myrrh as cinnamon, this is the dominant fragrance. Likewise, as we live uprightly, the bitterness of the world has no rule over us.
Hebrew: Kaneh, which means to redeem . It is often called fragrant cane because of its scent as it grows. Our redemption is sweet yet our lives should be lived in a way that is fragrant, to attract others to our redeemer.
This plant grows only at extreme altitudes and produces a beautiful large purple flower. The Hebrew word is Kiddah, which means to bow the head. Although we are seated in heavenly places enrobed with royal robes, we are to walk in humility.
The parashah continues with the making of the holy incense, the story of the golden calf, and with the wrath of G-d followed by the wrath of Moses. Interesting, isn't it, that the friend of G-d demonstrates the same emotion that the G-d of the friend demonstrates? A passage that is another favorite of mine is the passage found in Exodus 33:12 through 17. This is where Moses is speaking with G-d, as friend to Friend. Here, he insists that G-d go with him. But notice the sequence. In verse 14, G-d tells Moses, "My Presence shall go and provide you rest." Then, Moses says "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. 'For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?" Notice how this faithful man, called alone, "friend of G-d;" this man asks G-d to confirm what He has just told him that He would do? But, notice too that G-d does not rebuke Moses' doubt, but rather confirms His promise immediately by saying, "I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name." Isn't G-d so good to us to confirm His promises to us whenever we find ourselves in times of doubt and times of indecision? Bless His Holy Name.