In this Torah portion, Ki Tisa, the 10 Commandments are written “with the finger of G-d” (Exodus 31:18), the people lose patience waiting at the bottom of the mountain for Moses and build a Golden Calf, Moses breaks the tablets and goes back up for another set.
Ransoming the Soul
In her dvar Torah Making Matters Count Rabbi Susan Offner, focuses on one seemingly unrelated verse. Exodus 30:12 states that “when you take a census of the Israelite people according to their enrollment, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul to G-d”.
This sounds like an odd statement to the 21st century person. Why pay a ransom as part of a counting of the people? From Rabbi Offner…
In The Torah: A Modern Commentary, Rabbi Gunther Plaut explains that “counting was considered a privilege belonging to God, and humans conducting a census without divine approval thereby placed themselves in dire danger.” (p. 632) Only God merits the privilege of counting.