Shabbat Ki Tissa 5776

You’ve been given your toughest assignment yet as a defense attorney. You have to get Aharon off the hook for a heinous crime against God: aiding and abetting idolatry, building the Golden Calf.
As members of the legal team, you of course need more information. But you need to do some independent research. You can begin by reading the relevant parts of this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa. The verses can be found by clicking here. I think you’ll agree that the Torah’s transcript is rather damning of Aharon. He hears the People’s demand for a new god, and doesn’t do much of anything to deny their request. He’s rather complicit, actually. Then, when confronted by his brother, he cops a pretty lame plea: “Let my lord not be enraged. You know that this people is bent on evil. They said to me, ‘Make us a god to lead us; for that man Moses, who brought us from the land of Egypt–we do not know what happened to him.’ So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off!’ They gave it to me and I hurled it into the fire and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:22-24)
What arguments could Aharon’s defense team make on his behalf? Is there anything in the Biblical record that you can use to exonerate Aharon from having violated the first commandment he only recently heard at Sinai, “You shall have no other gods before Me?”
Aharon needs you, his dream team of defense attorneys. On Shabbat morning, after services, at our next installment of “kiddush-and-learn,” we’ll strategize a defense plan, using our collective wisdom and some guidance from the traditional commentaries. So be sure to read the portion!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise