Take Two Sets of Tablets and Call Me in the Morning

In Parshat Ki Tisa, two sets of tablets are given by G-d to Moshe. Moshe shattered the first set as he descended from Mt. Sinai when he saw B’nai Yisrael worshipping the golden calf.  The second set of tablets were given after Moshe pleaded with G-d to forgive the Jewish people and give them another chance.


Each set had some unique characteristics. The first set was created solely by G-d as we see in Shmot 32:16, “The tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of G-d engraved on the tablets.” Whereas the for the second tablets we see in Shmot 34:1, “God said to Moshe, ‘Carve for yourself two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write upon the tablets the words that were on the first Tablets, which you broke.’”


Though G-d wrote on both sets of tablets, it was only the first set that had the quality of engraving by G-d, a permanence of words. We see in the Talmud, Eruvin 54a, “Had the first set of tablets not been shattered the Torah would never have been forgotten by Israel.”


Rashi comments that engraving is permanent and cannot be erased. By means of these permanently engraved tablets, the Torah would have been permanently “engraved” on the mind of Israel and would never be forgotten.


The first tablets were engraved when Bnei Yisrael were tzadikim (righteous) while the second tablets were given when they were Ba’alei Teshuva (penitents), making up for the sin of the golden calf.


Today we see many Jewish people around the globe coming back to the Jewish religion. Little by little we are witnessing many individuals searching for their connection to Judaism and working their way up spiritually to serve God.


In Jerusalem, we encounter numerous college students from diverse backgrounds on Birthright trips, searching for their roots as well as senior citizens who live in Jerusalem attending Megillah readings for the first time in decades.


People with strong Jewish backgrounds are also working on their own attributes and are increasing their observance of the Miztvot.


The power of Judaism in this very difficult period is stronger than ever.


We are all Ba’alei Teshuva, striving to return to the permanence of the first set of tablets in order to have the Torah engraved on our minds and in our hearts and never forgotten.