Bnei Yisroel just witnessed 10 plagues in Egypt, splitting of the Red sea, the Manna, the cloud, and receiving the Torah! How could they possibly sin? How could they do Avodah Zara? How could they even think to deny Hashem and worship the Egel? In Rashi 32:1 the Satan showed Bnei Yisroel a picture of Moshe dead. This is what prompted them to go crazy and ask for a replacement for Moshe. This Egel wasn’t a replacement of Hashem. The pasuk is focusing on a replacement of Moshe. The order of events is that Bnei Yisroel miscounts a day, and then becomes upset and worried when Moshe isn’t back that day. So, they conclude he’s dead with the help of the Satan. Why didn’t they mourn for him? They should spend at least a day being upset over the loss of the holiest guy to live and pay some respect for the person who led them out of Egypt. How could they celebrate with drums and dancing with this golden calf? If they mourned him they would’ve stalled long enough for Moshe to return! The Tzror Hamor says that Moshe broke the Luchos in order to help Bnei Yisroel. Bnei Yisroel is currently sinning despite what they said 3 Parshios ago: “Naaseh Venishma”. Therefore, Moshe tore up this agreement by breaking the luchos. The Kli Yakar says that Moshe knew Bnei Yisroel needed his help to become forgiven, so he sinned by breaking the luchos and was then able to join in with them asking for forgiveness from Hashem. The Midrash tells us that Avoda Zara used to be a much bigger desire. One day, everyone prayed to get rid of this strong desire to do idol worship. A fiery lion came running out of Kodesh Hakedoshim. The lion ran away, or Bnei Yisroel beat it to death. Nevertheless, the desire to do idol worship was forever gone. In addition, the punishment of tzaraas left by default. What’s the connection? Leprosy is a huge undisputable proof to Hashem’s existence. The second a person says lashon hara they instantly get a white blotch on their skin. It’s too easy to believe in Hashem and know he exists if leprosy exists. Therefore, to balance this out in order to give people the ability to choose to believe in Hashem, there was a very big desire to worship idols. Without this desire, leprosy had to be destroyed too. We therefore see that Avoda Zara and belief in Hashem are not mutually exclusive. You can believe and have proof that Hashem is God while still succumbing to the temptation of Avodah Zara. Rashi 31:18 says that there is no order in the torah. So chronologically the egel happened before the Mishkan. The Mishkan was the fix for the egel. Our sin was that we saw Moshe as the physical manifestation of Hashem and made him into a God, so to do teshuva, we created an actual place to serve as the physical manifestation of Hashem – as we read 2 parshios ago: “make for Me a holy place and I will dwell in you!” Moshe wasn’t mourned over because he was viewed as part God. Bnei Yisroel didn’t deny God, but instead misinterpreted all of the miracles and that is what led them to sin. And finally, Moshe broke the luchos despite the tremendous holiness in them because if kept alive they would become Avoda Zara and therefore like the halacha with any idol, you break it.
Girl Studying in Machon Maayan