Torah Tidbits

23 August 2014 / 27 Av 5774
Issue 1036
Shabbat Parshat Ki Tisa
February 28, 2013

Portion of the Portion

Took a Long Time to Come Down the Mountain

When once asked about my most scary memory, the first thing that popped into my head was an episode that happened when I was about nine or so. My mother took me to a special event at the library. Like all the other parents, she left and told me she would be back to pick me up when it was over. After the event I saw all the other children’s parents coming to get them but I didn’t see my mother. All the other children went home and it was just me and the librarian left. I knew and liked the librarian but I still began to cry because I was worried how I would get home and what happened to my mother. My mother finally arrived and apologized, but for some reason this story has stayed in my head throughout the years.
This is similar to an episode that is related in our portion. The portion relates that when G-d finished speaking to Moshe on Sinai, he gave him two Tablets of Testimony. Meanwhile, down below, the people began to realize that Moshe was taking a long time to come down the mountain. VAYAAR HAAM KI BO- SHESH MOSHE LAREDET (32:1). They didn’t know what happened to him and worried, so they asked Aharon “ASEI LANU ELOHIM ASHER YEILCHU L’FANEINU - to make them an oracle (god) to lead them.
According to Rashi, the nation thought that Moshe was late because they miscalculated. Whatever the reason, when they thought that Moshe was “late” they began to panic. How would they survive without Moshe. They already started looking for a replacement.
Rosally Saltsman, in her book “Parenting by the Book. A Weekly portion of Chinuch Banim”  writes: “If a nation that had just witnessed divine revelation couldn’t handle their leader being a few hours late, kal vachomer - how much more so - our own children should not be left without supervision for any unreasonable time.” She doesn’t mean that we should not trust our children or give them independence. She just recommends that the children should know we are never far away.
She also recommends that we should try not to come late if we tell our children that we will be back at a specific time. We want to retain credibility with our children (as well as the babysitter) and we don’t want them to be in a situation where they feel insecure and not know how to cope. I unfortunately have arrived late a number of times to pick up my children, which I especially regret because I know from my personal experience that it can make a child feel very unsure of themselves.
In the portion, this fear and uncertainty led to the sin of the golden calf. Not all children left alone will turn to idol worship, but children who are left unsupervised for too long may get involved in other dangerous and self-damaging behavior. Not to mention the people around nowadays who would love to take advantage of our unsupervised children and grandchildren.
It is important that we know where our children are and that they are being supervised, and it is just as important that they feel our presence and know that they can rely on us to be there if they need us.
SINCE THE NATION was waiting for Moshe to come down from above on the mountain - here are cookies that are dropped from above onto the cookie sheet.

OATMEAL DROP COOKIES
2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups rolled oats, quick or old-fashioned
1 cup raisins
1 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple juice

Sift together dry ingredients; stir in rolled oats and raisins. Stir in oil, eggs, and juice. Beat with a spoon until thoroughly blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 200C for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen.

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