" /> May the Satan broadcast Fake News? – Ki Sisa – L’Ilui Nishmas: Kayla Rus Bas Yosef Yochanan A”H/Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H – Josh Eisenberg Dvar Torah

 

This D’var Torah is in Z’chus L’Ilui Nishmas my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein.
     It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:
-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel
-My grandfather Moshe Ben Breindel, and my grandmothers Channah Freidel Bas Sarah, and Shulamis Bas Etta
-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili
-Noam Shmuel Ben Simcha
-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis
-Nechama Hinda Bas Tzirel Leah
-Ariela Golda Bas Amira Tova
-And all of the Cholei Yisrael
-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken in terror attacks (Hashem Yikom Damam), and a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.

 

 

בס”ד

 

**Note: This D’var Torah is a re-written, much edited, and expanded version of an old one I wrote a few years ago.

 

  כִּי תִשָּׂא ● Ki Sisa

● Didn’t the Satan overstep his boundaries? How could the B’nei Yisrael be blamed for Cheit HaEigel? ●

 

“The Golden Calf and Us: Dealing with Doubt”

 

Undoubtedly one of the most difficult accounts in the Torah and all of Jewish history would have to be that of the tragic Cheit HaEigel, the worshipping of the Golden Calf.1 Moshe had yet to return from the Heavens through the thickly clouded peak of Har Sinai with the Luchos when the people began celebrating the statue of gold. It apparently unfolded when a minor but loud portion of the people confronted Moshe’s brother Aharon in angst, insisting that they create some gods, or a divine oracle of some sort, as a replacement to lead them. One thing led to another until enough of the nation found itself offering sacrifices and bowing before the Golden Calf.

 

The “De-Calf” Approach

 

It is has been an endless struggle to explain how the B’nei Yisrael could’ve plummeted so low from their spiritual heights, going from the experience of G-d’s marvelous revelation at Har Sinai to this bog of idolatry, serving a molten calf shortly after their “betrothal” to G-d and His covenant. It was quite terrible. Yet, according to many, the deed was not as completely awful as it sounds.

First of all, it wasn’t literal Avodah Zarah or idolatry. The Zohar, the Kuzari, Rokeiach and even most Pashtanim (commentators presenting the simple understanding) maintain that the Eigel was originally just meant to serve as a medium for their connection to the true G-d. They intended to create a seat for Hashem’s Shechinah. In fact, Chazal actually teach that the designers of the Eigel adopted their design from the Merkavah or the Divine Chariot of G-d’s Presence which they beheld at Sinai which apparently featured the image of an ox.2

Second of all, Chazal famously teach that it was not actually the B’nei Yisrael themselves who incited this national sin, but it was the Eirev Rav or the “Mixed Multitudes” who tagged along with the B’nei Yisrael when the nation left Egypt.3 Perhaps most of the nation did not engage directly with the idol. Most merely failed to protest and thereby enabled the sin.

 

“gods of gold” – A Black on White Command

 

Now, although the above insight might take the gravity of the sin down a notch, there is still a glaring issue. Even if the B’nei Yisrael weren’t outright looking to violate the second of the Aseres HaDibros, “Lo Yihiyeh Lecha Elohim Acheirim Al Panai”-“There shall not be for you other [foreign] gods in My Presence,”3 there was still another blatant command that the people were unavoidably transgressing.

After the presentation of the Aseres HaDibros, Hashem explicitly commanded them, “Lo Sa’asun Iti Elohei Chesef V’Eilohei Zahav Lo Sa’asu Lachem”-“You shall not make [what is] with Me; gods of silver and gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves.”4 There were no secrets or surprises here. The consequences of the Golden Calf included no “gotchya” moments. They were warned not to make gods of gold to accompany Hashem. And yet, this overt transgression was exactly what had had been committed. So, despite the intentions which we can swear were the most sincere and righteous, how could the B’nei Yisrael have disregarded such a black on white law so easily? Again, the prohibition was not stated so ambiguously that they should have stumbled over it. What could have possibly led them to an outright violation of basic law that was commanded of them?

 

The Satan’s Scheme

 

Perhaps a couple of potential justifications for the B’nei Yisrael’s tragic engagement in the Cheit HaEigel lie in the well-known traditions of Chazal who elaborate on the obscure, complicated circumstances under which the Cheit HaEigel actually occurred. It wasn’t like the people waited for Moshe to leave so that they could sneak in a long awaited service of idol worship. They were told that Moshe would return after forty days, yet, Rashi tells us that they erroneously counted the day of his ascent to Sinai which would mislead them to believe, when he didn’t return when expected, that he wasn’t returning at all.5 They genuinely feared that their most promising leader Moshe Rabbeinu was gone for good and that there were no living replacements to guide them in Hashem’s light. Now, maybe they should’ve waited longer, right? Patience is key!

Indeed, patience would have helped, but the people had concluded that Moshe was simply not coming back. How could they be so sure? Apparently, they had visual evidence. Indeed, Chazal deduce this from the peoples’ expressions of concern, “…Ki Zeh Moshe…Lo Yad’anu Meh Hayah Lo”-“…for this—Moshe…we do not know what became of him.”6 As a rule, the word “Zeh”-“this” connotes some visual aid that can be pointed to. And what were the people possibly pointing to? Chazal explain that the Satan showed them an image, really, an illusion of either Moshe’s deathbed or possibly Moshe’s own lifeless body, suspended in the air.7

If this is true, then indeed, the people were given every reason to believe that Moshe wasn’t coming back. These extenuating circumstances should allow us to cut some major slack for the B’nei Yisrael. And yet, if this is all true, the story has just become all the more difficult. That is because, at the end of the day, the B’nei Yisrael were still punished for this apparently egregious sin. Yes, the sin was not only not as bad as one may have thought, but apparently, it was only transgressed under completely false pretenses. Between the technical, timing error and the fictious illusory, holigrams which the Satan obnoxiously showed them, the nation had the odds stacked against them. The whole sin ensued from a most hazy misunderstanding which it seems the B’nei Yisrael themselves could not have prevented! How could they be blamed considering the ridiculous conditions?

And while we’re on the topic, was it actually fair that the Satan was permitted to broadcast his “fake news” and ultimately trick the B’nei Yisrael? This was not a mere ploy of desire. It was a boldfaced lie. So, wasn’t Satan really overstepping his boundaries there? And yet, apparently, the B’nei Yisrael could still be blamed. The question is: How? How could the B’nei Yisrael be blamed despite the plainly misleading images which the Satan placed before their very eyes?

 

 

The Golden Calf and Us

 

What makes the entire account of the Cheit HaEigel so difficult to understand is how foreign and unrelatable he entire situation seems. Between the idols and the Satan’s camera tricks, how could any of it possibly relate to us today? We’d like to think it couldn’t, but, apparently it does. Besides for the fact that the account is recorded for eternal posterity in the Torah, but according to Chazal, we still suffer from this sin today!8 Moreover, we would later be commanded in the Torah to remember this sin each day.9 Moreover, we customarily read about the fallout of this sin during Krias HaTorah or the Torah Reading for almost each and every fast day on the Jewish calendar. Chazal see this account and its consequences as the foundation for national Teshuvah and Kaparah, repentance and atonement.10 It was the antecedent to what would become our annual Yom Kippur. It is one of our primary icons on sin.

But the question is: How? How does this “exotic” and enigmatic Cheit HaEigel still play a role in our lives today and inform our understanding of sin and repentance if we can barely relate to it? The details of the scene itself are already difficult enough to make coherent sense of. The two extremes of this story, the blame of the nation and their potential defenses leave us running around in circles. How could we possibly relate to this misguided, “idolatrous” slipup known as the Cheit HaEigel?

 

Drastic Measures

 

If one wants to truly understand the fault of the people surrounding the Cheit HaEigel, perhaps one has to analyze some of the measures taken in response to the Cheit HaEigel. Indeed, they may clue one in and reveal the roots of the mess. After G-d informed Moshe that the nation was engaging in the sin, Moshe Rabbeinu immediately lobbied to win mercy for the people.11 But, when Moshe returned to the scene of the crime, he took some apparently harsh, drastic measures.

 

  • Shevrias HaLuchos” or the Shattering of the Luchos

 

 

Firstly, when Moshe witnessed the sight of the Cheit HaEigel, his first response was to throw down the Luchos of the covenant and shatter them.12 Now, why would he have done such a thing? Intuitively, it does not seem appropriate. Those were G-d’s tablets containing His holy words and Name. Moreover, in hindsight, we know that Moshe would later be commanded to prepare new tablets for the nation.13 That tells us that the Luchos were an indispensable aspect of the B’nei Yisrael’s relationship and covenant with Hashem. The question then is why Moshe would have shattered them in the first place?

Moshe’s shattering of the Luchos, his carving of the news ones, plus the fact that the account of the Eigel begins with the description of Moshe’s ascent for the Luchos, “inscribed by the finger of G-d,”14 are all evidence that the account of the Eigel revolves around the Luchos. Moshe’s shattering of the Luchos is obviously the dramatic, climactic linchpin of the story, but is that all it was? Was smashing the Luchos really necessary or did it just make for a great story? Did it solve anything? Was Moshe just desperate for attention? Was he just angry? Probably not. Breaking G-d’s covenantal tablets is a bold and drastic move to make even for someone who is angry.

Chazal explain that Moshe did what he did because the B’nei Yisrael didn’t deserve the Luchos.15 Indeed, that would seem fair. They did worship or at least allowed the worship of a golden calf. But if Moshe was just insinuating that the B’nei Yisrael didn’t deserve the Luchos, maybe he could’ve just returned them to heaven, in one piece (really, two), perhaps until a time when they’d be worthy. Indeed, the dramatic effect would be gone, but who cares about that? Again, a lot of thought has to be put into such an act of physically destroying G-d’s prized work. What could have warranted that?

 

  • Mi LaHashem Elai”-“Whoever is for Hashem, [come] to me

 

Further, after burning the calf and receiving a synopsis of the story from Aharon, Moshe addresses the nation, declaring, “…Mi LaHashem Elai…”-“…Whoever is for Hashem [come] to me…16 The question is what exactly Moshe was thinking when he issued this “instruction” to the people? What message was he trying to convey? As the narrative continues to unfold, it is evident that Moshe was preparing a court to judge the sinners.

Now, as the Torah testifies, the entire tribe of Levi joins him in this feat.16 However, looking at Moshe’s command, it seems that the “offer” was on the table for anyone who considered himself as being “LaHashem”-“for Hashem.” So, if Moshe was really trying to assemble people to kill the sinners, then why would the statement be an open offer to anyone and everyone? Why didn’t Moshe ask someone whom he could trust like Aharon to report to him who sinned, who wasn’t involved at all, and perhaps who tried to prevent the sin from happening? If one served the Eigel, one deserved death, and if one didn’t, and maybe even tried to stop the act, he could join Moshe’s court and live. The question Moshe should be asking, and perhaps asking privately, was: “Who bowed to the idol?” Why did he need to announce it to everyone?

Moreover, the instruction itself is strange. Again, he stressed, “Mi LaHashem Elai”-“Whoever is for Hashem, come to me.” In other words, if you are on Hashem’s team, come here. The obvious question is: Aren’t we all “for Hashem”? Granted, perhaps some people sinned, and some not. But, we have to assume that in virtually every single individual’s own mind, perhaps save the members of Eirev Rav, would have considered himself a decided member of Hashem’s team. Who wouldn’t? As we argued in defense of the nation, they were really trying to serve Hashem albeit through a very incorrect medium. But, of course, when it came down to it, they were all on Hashem’s team. For Moshe to make such a generic offer to “anyone who likes G-d” or “whoever actually cares about Hashem” seems odd and not to the point. Assuming everyone saw himself as a member of G-d’s team, his offer would allow anyone and everyone to raise his hand in the affirmative. Why would he do it that way if, presumably, his real goal was to weed out the true sinners?

And yet, as troubling a question as that is, the flipside question is even more troubling. Because when Moshe put that offer out on the table for essentially “anyone who cares about Hashem,” it was not virtually the entire nation that came to his side. It was only the tribe of Levi. The troubling new question is how there was anyone who could not answer that simple question of who is for Hashem. Whether they sinned or did not, this question should not have been a challenge. When push came to shove, the people should have been able to pick a side easily. What kept them from doing so?

 

  • …V’Hirgu Ish Es Achiv…”-“…and they shall kill, a man his brother…

 

In Moshe’s third and final drastic measure, when he ordered that the guilty people be executed, he used a rather heartbreaking formulation; “…V’Hirgu Ish Es Achiv V’Ish Es Rei’eihu V’Ish Es Krovo”-“…and they shall kill—each man [kill] his brother, each man his friend, each man his relative.”17 Now, we get it that people have to die for their capital crimes, but why did he have to say it that way? Bearing the sensitivity of the task he was demanding of them, one would think Moshe would have gone out of his way to convey this harsh command in a smoother way. Why did he stress that each man would kill his, brother, friend and relative?

 

The Gray Area

The major issue which we had with our simple understanding of the account of the Cheit HaEigel was how, with even the people’s best of intentions, the whole tragedy could have occurred. The very measures taken to create this project were in clear violation of a straightforward prohibition against making gods of gold. Requesting “gods” wasn’t an unintentional response to their issue and agreeing to contribute their gold wasn’t an accident. They were perhaps correct to be concerned, but there was a black on white law before them that somehow slipped from the radar.

That has been our proble; this assumption is that Am Yisrael had before them a black on white law. However, perhaps this obviously true premise to our question was not so obvious at the moment and scene of the crime. Surely, in hindsight, we can see the apparent, black-on-white prohibition that was being transgressed, but maybe, at the time, it simply wasn’t so black on white. In fact, perhaps most scenarios where G-d’s explicit word is transgressed are the result of matters not being so clear. It happened because matters, somehow, became obscure and quite gray.

Indeed, as we’ve also explained, for the B’nei Yisrael, the Satan tampered with their minds and perhaps even their sensory perception. As far as they knew, Moshe would not return—he was dead to them. They experienced a spiritual revelation at Har Sinai and then the revelation ended. What would be next? Perhaps, they were in a desperate time which called for a desperate measure. Maybe it was an extenuating circumstance, a Hora’as Sha’ah, a one-time “ruling for the moment.”18 In the very Haftarah for Parshas Ki Sisa19, Eliyahu HaNavi appropriately violated an explicit command not to slaughter offerings outside of the Azarah, or the Temple court!20 Yes, there was a prohibition against making gods of gold, but maybe it wasn’t black on white to them at the time they transgressed. Who knew at the time? The point is though that if the situation was gray, we can understand and even sympathize with the people, almost so much so that it is difficult to understand what was so terrible about the sin, given the circumstances. There have been scenarios in Jewish history where black on white law had to be suspended due to the grayness of the situation. Why was this scenario any different? Why did Hashem respond so harshly, considering the gray circumstances which Satan had apparently taken full liberty to generate in the presence of the vulnerable people?

 

Devil’s Advocate

 

It could be the answer to this question is that, apparently, as gray as this situation was and as much as the Satan had taken advantage of the situation, there was still enough room for a more appropriate response on the part of the people. At the end of the day, there was a command in the Torah against their very actions and they didn’t put enough thought or effort into deciphering G-d’s direct Will on the matter. The Pasuk does not say that they asked Aharon or anyone who knew better than they did what to do in their situation. On the contrary, we’re told “…Vayikaheil HaAm Al Aharon V’Amru Eilav Kum Aseih Lanu Elohim Asheir Yeilchu Lfaneinu…”-“…and the nation [people] gathered against Aharon and they said to him, ‘Arise [Get up]! Make for us gods that will go before us…6—they confronted Aharon with an agenda and said, “Here’s what we’ve decided that we’re going to do, given our situation.” They gradually adapted to the situation, went with the flow, and didn’t ask the questions when the situation got hazy.

Is it fair that the Satan sabotaged them? Would the B’nei Yisrael have messed up so terribly if the Satan was not given free reign to play with their minds using smoke and mirrors? Perhaps, not, but at the end of the day, it apparently doesn’t matter! In life, the situation is almost never black on white and the Satan inside of us will always make the situation as gray as possible, constantly casting shadows of doubt. Indeed, the Satan is allowed to cast some illusions, but he would not tell the people to explicitly create an idol. In the same vein, the Primordial Serpent never explicitly told woman to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil!21 He merely asked some questions and raised speculations! And if he never asked his questions or raised his speculations, no one would have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge. But, again, it does not matter! Yes, in life, doubts are raised! But, if we are willing and caring enough to seek out the true Ratzon Hashem from our leaders, the grayness of the situation would not lead us astray!

 

When in Doubt…

 

Indeed, we have to assume that all of the above is applicable for the B’nei Yisrael at the scene of the Eigel! Yes, they saw a dead Moshe, but without consulting the contemporary “Poskim” or Halachic authorities, they told themselves that a certain means was necessary for a better ends. They felt that they needed an oracle to bear G-d’s Presence, and their “feelings” on the matter led to their demise. Instead of asking the right questions, they inappropriately relied on their intuition and decided to declare their own Hora’as Sha’ah. The situation was gray? There was a shadow of doubt? Great! That is the perfect time to ask a higher authority your questions! If not then, then when else? That is what Poskim are for!

Perhaps we can suggest the following Remez or allusion to this demonstrate this idea, that Hebrew word for doubt, “Safeik” [ספק], can be rearranged to spell the word “P’sak” [פסק], Halachic ruling, or “Poseik,” the Halachic authority who is supposed to be consulted for answers when that doubt arises!

 

Who Really Shattered the Luchos?

 

All of the above may explain what Moshe had in mind in his reaction to this disaster. We mentioned earlier that perhaps returning the Luchos to Hashem would’ve been a safer response than smashing them to bits. Indeed, Chazal suggest that Moshe actually thought of that option and originally decided that way.22 However, according to one tradition, when he tried to return, the Zikeinim or the elders tried to take them from him, and after wrestling the tablets from their hands, Moshe saw the script disappear from the Luchos.23 Now, suppose we take this Midrash literally, or even not. Whether Moshe threw the Luchos down intentionally as the simple reading of our Sidrah suggests, or whether it was “completely accidental,” what is evident is that the Luchos had to be shattered. Hashem allowed it to happen—He sapped the holy script from the tablets. So, why did that happen? Why did the Luchos which were once inscribed with Hashem’s words have to be shattered? Perhaps, very simply, it was because it was those very words that contained the necessary answers to the questions that Am Yisrael chose not to look for. They did not truly seek out Ratzon Hashem when they were in doubt. Why not? What happened to the Sinai experience? Didn’t they care about the Aseres HaDibros?

Apparently, they cared more about the stimulating fireworks of Sinai. They mistook the focal point of the Revelation, Hashem’s ideals, for the accompanying inspirational display of Divine images, the lightening and the “Chariot of G-d,” as we described earlier. Indeed, it was the Eigel, their “seat” for the Shechinah that they ended up serving in and of itself—the accompaniment of G-d, not G-d’s essence. And why would they have done that? Because the display of thunder and lightning was awe-inspirational. The peripheral features of the “revelation” made them feel “right.” It perhaps made religion exciting to observe. The only problem is that Hashem’s religion is not merely about what feels intuitive and exhilarating. It is a serious commitment to Hashem’s eternal Will which exists even in the place of doubt. It’s a covenant—that which the Luchos symbolized, and that which the nation ignored. If all they cared about was the superficial visuals and not the essence itself, who needed the Luchos? Thus, whether Moshe threw them down or dropped them—that also doesn’t matter—it was essentially the B’nei Yisrael themselves who through them down! They shattered their covenant with Hashem. They forsook the Torah.


“Who is for Hashem”? Aren’t We All?

 

In this vein, Moshe commanded, “Mi LaHashem Eilai”-“Whoever is for Hashem [come] to me” and commanded it loudly and clearly for everyone to hear. Indeed, Moshe was trying to make a point. The people were confused, afraid, and in doubt. What were they to do in their situation? But, Moshe demanded, “Mi LaHashem,” because that was all they needed to have in mind. Things looked gray. But, if they were truly concerned about being “LaHashem,” they would’ve taken the appropriate measures and ultimately have come to the correct conclusions. “What does the Halachah have to say in these circumstances? Is there a wise authority around who has answers?” That was all they needed to do. “Mi LaHashem Elai” means: “Whoever is willing to sacrifice his intuition to find out what Hashem really wants should come to me.” They could’ve consulted someone greater and they could’ve waited until they knew without doubt what to do. When things are obscure, wait for the smoke to clear and then act. That’s not what the people did. Instead, they panicked in the face of the Satan and decided that there could be no black on white answer. They did not look into the Torah to find G-d’s Will, but into their particular feelings.

You would think that “everyone is on Hashem’s team,” but in fact, Moshe’s point was to question this notion entirely. If you are not intellectually honestly turning to the Torah and its transmitters for answers and for the truth, you are actually not on Hashem’s team. That’s not Hashem’s religion. It is something entirely different. It is pseudo-Avodah Zarah! And that not everyone raised their hand when Moshe declared “Mi LaHashem Elai” is the ultimate indicator that for them, it was not so clear what team they were truly playing for. Yes, “we’re all on Hashem’s team,” and yet, we hesitate and jump to our instincts when there is a shadow of doubt. That is why not everyone stepped up when Moshe put it that way. “Mi LaHashem Elai” spurred a spiritual crisis in the minds of the people, introducing simple and obvious questions which perhaps the people had never asked themselves: Whose team am I on? Am I for Hashem or am I really for something else?

 

The Litmus Test: Kill Your Brother

 

Now, we can understand what exactly Moshe was driving at when he emphasized that “and they should kill—each man kill his brother, each man his friend, each man his relative.” Moshe wasn’t merely looking for innocent people to wipe out the sinners. He was looking to see who would stand up purely for Ratzon Hashem when personal intuition would certainly choose otherwise. “Your brother, friend and relative”—it doesn’t matter who it is! The guilty must be executed. Is it easy? No. Is it fun? No. Is it intuitive? Not quite. But, that is what Hashem wanted right then and there! Only those who could answer “Mi LaHashem Elai” in the affirmative could step up.

 

Dealing with Doubt

 

How does the Cheit HaEigel relate to us today? It’s quite obvious now. All of us have to internalize this reality that one can’t serve G-d based on his personal intuition and take every seemingly gray situation into his own hands. Just as there were clear ideals that were presented at Sinai that should’ve influenced the nation’s next move, we have laws and authorities clarifying Ratzon Hashem for us as well. It is when we disregard these resources and choose, based on our fears and other such feelings, that we inevitably fall victim to sin. It is not because we are malicious, but because we are fundamentally neglectful. We just don’t care enough. When we decide even subconsciously that the Torah doesn’t govern our lives—when we compromise Ratzon Hashem—that we can fall from the Sinai experience to the Sin of the Golden Calf.

The second set of Luchos were not presented amidst a laser-light show because in the end, religion is not something that we observe when it looks inspiring and feels intuitive. It is when we bind ourselves to the covenant, the contents of the Luchos—the black on white, not the attractive background presentation, and when we look to our available leaders at times of doubt that we truly show “Mi LaHashem”-“who is for Hashem.”

 

May we all be Zocheh to focus constantly on Ratzon Hashem, properly seek it out, fulfill His Will to the best of our capabilities in all situations, truly be La’Hashem (for Hashem), and we should be Zocheh to His inspirational revelation again with the coming of the Geulah in the times of Moshiach, Bimheirah Biyomeinu! Have a Great Shabbos!
-Yehoshua Shmuel Eisenberg 🙂

 

  1. Shemos 32
  2. Tanchuma 26 and Shemos Rabbah 42:6 based on Yechezkeil 1
  3. Tanchuma 19
  4. Shemos 20:3
  5. To 32:1 citing Shabbos 89A
  6. Shemos 32:1
  7. Rashi to 32:1 citing Shabbos 89A, Shemos Rabbah 41:7 and Tanchuma 19
  8. Rashi to 32:34 citing Sanhedrin 102A
  9. Devarim 9:7
  10. Avodah Zarah 4B-5A
  11. Shemos 32:7-15
  12. Ibid. 32:19
  13. Ibid. 34:1
  14. Ibid. 31:18
  15. Shabbos 87A
  16. Shemos 32:26
  17. Ibid. 32:27
  18. See for example Talmud Yerushalmi, Ta’anis 2:8 and Megillah 1:11.
  19. Melachim Aleph 18
  20. Vayikra 17:2-4; See Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 9:3.
  21. See Bereishis 3.
  22. Shemos Rabbah 46:2 and the Yalkut Shim’oni 1:393
  23. Shemos Rabbah 46:1; See Eitz Yosef.