Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Sin of the Golden Sheep

Aharon was commanded to bring a calf and a ram as sacrifices as part of the dedication service for the Mishkan. Rashi teaches that the calf was to display that Hashem had forgiven Aharon for his participation in the Golden Calf. While it is possible that the ram had nothing to do with this sin, it is interesting to note that it is grouped with the calf seemingly displaying some sort of connection between the two.

Perhaps, the ram also displayed some element of the Golden Calf and it too was a display of Hashem's forgiveness and compassion. The Rema, in his Toras HaOlah, teaches that part of what Klal Yisrael were trying to do with the Golden Calf was to tap into the astrological forces symbolized in T'leh, the Ram, and Shor, the Ox. These two signs are those of Nisan and Iyar and historically these items have been worshiped or used for worshiping others. The reason, says the Rema, is that the spring is a time when growth and development occurs and, as such, displays the idea of bracha occurring. Naturally people want to "tap into" this concept and unfortunately served items that they felt displayed the concepts of spring.

The Rema continues to state that Klal Yisrael wanted to capture the essence of both of these signs so they took a calf. The calf is a young Shor and thus displays the qualities of that mazal, and while it is young and fragile is also reminiscent of a small sheep. So, in addition to Shor, T'leh was also represented in that famous sin. Perhaps, the ram that Aharon offered was also displaying this other element of that very sin of the Golden Calf. In addition to the calf of Shor, he also had a ram which is symbolic of T'leh.

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