Shabbat Ki Tissa/Parah 5783

As the Torah tells it, the tablets that Moshe brought down from the mountain were unlike any other writing sample ever. They were “inscribed on both of their surfaces: they were inscribed on one side and on the other” (Exodus 32:15). Rashi, the great commentator from the 11th century, said that “both sides” doesn’t mean right and left, but front and back. What’s more, “on both their sides the letters could be read, and this constituted a miraculous piece of work.”

What does this look like in your imagination? Do the letters form words to be read in the same direction front and back? Or does the reader need to intuit what it says by reading in the opposite direction? (The legend of the Jews of Yemen was that some students learned how to read text upside down, because books were limited, so multiple students sat around one copy, and had to learn to read from their assigned position!)

However you imagine this to have looked, the Torah is conveying a picture of something miraculous. On Shabbat afternoon, we’ll see a short teaching by one of the earliest Hasidic masters, Rabbi Uziel Meisels, that would also be quite miraculous if it was ever to reflect Jewish communal dynamics!

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi David Wise
Candle lighting: 5:38 PM
Torah Reading: Exodus 30:11-34:35
Maftir: Numbers 19:1-22
Haftarah: Ezekiel 36:16-38