“These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel, on the other side of the Jordan, concerning the Wilderness, concerning the Aravah…and Di Zahav. ” 1:1
- And Di Zahav - He admonished them about the golden calf they made because of the abundance of gold they had accumulated, as it is said, "I gave them silver and gold in abundance, they made it into a Baal [Hoshea 2:10]." - Rashi
A large portion of Parshas Ki Sissah was devoted to discussing the complex attitudes and motives behind the sin of the golden calf. In this verse, Moshe Rabbeinu introduces us to yet another contributing factor for their failure. This excuse, while not as complex as the others, also played a significant role in inspiring their failure. In short, Moshe explained that they were overwhelmed by their newfound wealth. Within a matter of days they went from rags to riches, and were wholly unprepared to deal with their new reality and its attendant temptations. Certainly there were philosophical motives for their actions as well, but this factor is one that could not be ignored. Interestingly, while many of their initial struggles no longer pertain to us in their original form, the illicit inducements of excess materialism still plague us to this very day.