Other than the letter “C” that stands at the beginning of the words: Cherub, Coin and Calf…What might connect these three words and, at the same time, reflect some of the wisdom of our Torah? I would be interested in your ideas!
Here is what jumped out at me today:
The Cherubs that were described, before and after our Parsha, as part of the Sanctuary decor in the desert, were made of gold. Our Parsha begins with God telling Moses to collect a half shekel coin from each of our people to facilitate a census of our people. According to the Midrash, when God told Moses to conduct the census by means of collecting half shekel coins, God showed Moses a coin made of (golden) fire! And, finally, our Parsha tells the famous Biblical story of the Golden Calf!
It is interesting that the cherubs, the coin, and the calf all remind us of the complex nature of gold.
The Golden Calf was our people’s biggest mistake in the desert! It was created in the open public space and was worshiped as an idol. The Golden Cherubim, housed in the innermost section of the Sanctuary, represented the height of our people’s connection with God. And, the coin of fire that Moses was shown was a reminder that gold can be used, at our discretion, either modestly to expand holiness, or ostentatiously to wreak havoc in our world.
May we use our coins, our gold, and our spiritual fire, for the good as we expand the sense of holiness, of warmth, and of caring in our world.
Rabbi Gilah Dror