In the Wake of the Golden Calf: Is God Punishing Us?
Part of the series, “Times of Crisis and Possibility”
Israel’s fashioning of the Golden Calf—an immediate and direct violation of the first commandment they had just heard directly from God—led God to threaten to destroy all of Israel. Responding to this crisis, Moses protected Israel from God’s temper and renegotiated the terms of the people’s relationship with God. In this session, we revisit this episode and closely read a number of fascinating interpretations. In particular, we focus on the questions of divine justice and mercy raised in Rashi’s comment that in every generation God will exact a little bit of punishment from Israel for fashioning the Golden Calf.
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