Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section
is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person
"goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
This first Aliya concludes the details of the Mishkan's
construction. The Bnai Yisroel are commanded to give the half Shekel toward a
national census and the purchasing of the public offerings. The copper
washstand, the Kiyor, is described along with the ingredients and laws of the
anointing oil and the Ketores - the incense. Betzallel, the grandson of Chur and
great-grandson of Miriam, is identified as the chief artisan and architect of the
Mishkan. (Note: he was only 13 yr. old!) The Mitzvah of Shabbos is commanded.
Its juxtaposition to the details of the Mishkan provides the Gemara with the
source for determining the 39 categories of Melacha prohibited on Shabbos.
The story of the Golden Calf is told. Moshe ascended Sinai on the
morning of Sivan 7, and remained 40 days and nights. The 7th didn't start with
a night, so it wasn't included in the total of 40. The Jews mistakenly assumed
that it was to be included and expected Moshe back on the morning of Tamuz 16.
Instead, he returned the morning of Tamuz 17. By midday of the 16th, the Jews
were already desperate. Chur attempts to reason with them and is killed. They
approach Aharon who attempts to redirect their terror which results in the
Golden Calf. Moshe appears the next morning, breaks the Luchos, marshals the
tribe of Levi, and 3000 people are killed. Moshe demands Hashem's forgiveness
for the people, but moves the Ohel Moed out from the midst of the camp.
Yehoshua is proclaimed the main student of Moshe.
3rd & 4th Aliyot:
Moshe requests to understand Hashem's system of justice. He
is granted a greater understanding of Hashem than any other person in history,
but is denied the ability to comprehend divine justice.
Moshe is instructed to cut two new Luchos and ascend Sinai. Moshe
is taught the secret formula for Teshuva (the Thirteen Names of G-d as He
Manifests His Mercy) (34:6) and G-d forgives the Bnai Yisroel.
Hashem establishes a new covenant with the people. He forewarns
them against the influences of assimilation and intermarriage and forbids them
to make any treaties with the inhabitants of Canaan. The holidays of Pesach,
Shevout, and Succos are reviewed, as well as Shabbos and the basic law of
Moshe remains on Sinai another 40 days and nights and returns on
Yom Kippur carrying the second Luchos. The people see that the very being of
Moshe had been transformed and that his face radiated with a inner light.
Moshe fashions for himself a veil that he would wear at all times, except when
receiving a prophecy and when transmitting the word of G-d to the people.