Parshas Ki Sisa: Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow

By BJLife/Reb Dovid Fink

Posted on 03/02/18

We are reminded in many places that the Torah does not necessarily record events in precise chronological order.  Sometimes there are specific lessons to be learned from the juxtapositions and other times the reason is more elusive.  Virtually all commentaries agree that the events of the Eigel Hazahav are not in correct chronological order.  Most agree that this event occurred close to the giving of the Aseres Hadibros in Parshas Yisro.  Many varying explanations are offered for why the Torah records Parshiyos Mishpatim, Teruma and Tetzaveh before returning to this watershed moment.

It is interesting to note that the center pieces of these Parshiyos is the building of the Mishakan.  Rashi points out (Pikudei 38:21) that the building of the Mishkan was a Kaparah for the Eigel.  Perhaps with this insight we can understand another reason for delaying the recording of the Eigel until after the Mishkan was built.

The Eigel represented a breech in the relationship between Bnei Yisroel and Hashem.  The Mishkan provided the perfect Kapara.  Instead of their gold going towards a nefarious product, it was freely given to build a tangible bond between Hashem and his people.  Hashem did not record the assault on the relationship until after describing the efforts Bnei Yisroel undertook to cement that same bond. 

As beings who are confined to linear time and existence, it may seem strange to us that a “later” event can somehow help alleviate the black mark caused by an “earlier” transgression.  But for Hashem this is perfectly appropriate.  There is no past, present or future to Hashem.  Everything is one.  Hashem is readily able to stem his disappointment from the Eigel by basking in his approval of Bnei Yisroel’s acts in building the Mishkan. 

While we are indeed confined by time, we need not let our actions be so narrow.  At any moment we have the opportunity to attain forgiveness for a past transgression or for one we have yet to commit.  While we must live in and appreciate each moment, we cannot lose sight of the reality that our lives also have a totality which is vital.  Our deeds of today, the Mitzvos we do, all are part of the grand picture we present to the Borei Haolam.  We may, right now, be enjoying the kapara that Hashem has granted us for an action which we have yet to do.  Let’s not disappoint him.