Thursday, March 08, 2007

wrath on luchot

Parshat Ki Tisa

Moshe comes down from Har Sinai and finds Bnei Yisrael engaged in licentious and borderline idolatrous behavior around a golden calf. Enraged, he throws down the tablets and breaks them.

Why break the tablets? What benefit is there in that? They were very valuable, as we see later from when Moshe has to make a new set, and they were very holy. So why be so extreme as to break them?

I would suggest that this is similar to what we find in the gemara regarding the Beis Hamikdash - the gemera learns from a passuk in tehillim that we thank Hashem that he took out his wrath on the stones and wood of the temple rather than on the people. He could have destroyed us, the people, but instead saved us and destroyed the Temple instead.

I would suggest that Moshe did the same. Hashem wanted to destroy the people and start over. Moshe had told Hashem not to, but I think the price of that was that he break the luchot.

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