Supporting the “Cause” – Are there lessons from the Golden Calf episode that we can apply to the Truckers Convoy?
WARNING: I’m not comparing the Golden Calf worshipers to the Truckers.. read to the end.
This week’s Torah Portion, Ki Tisa ( Exodus 30:11-34:35) begins with God instructing each male of army age (20 and over) to donate 1/2 shekel of silver to be used for the service in the Tabernacle (and later in the Temple).
הֶעָשִׁיר לֹא־יַרְבֶּה וְהַדַּל לֹא יַמְעִיט מִמַּחֲצִית הַשָּׁקֶל
the rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than half a shekel…
In this way, each family have an equal portion in our communal worship and relationship with God.
Then, there is a lot of mention of extra virgin olive oil (I’ll save that for another time LOL)
But when Moses fails to return from Mount Sinai when expected, the People panicked and demanded that Aharon make a “god” for them who would lead the people in place of Moses! (Ex 32:1)
In a stalling tactic, Aharon tells them, “[You men,] take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
The gold jewelry, being much more precious than the 1/2 shekel of silver, Aharon thought that the people would be much more reluctant to part with it.
Surprisingly, almost all the people (except for the Levites) willingly gave up their gold, thinking it was the right thing to do… after all, Aharon asked them for it!!
Magically the Golden Calf was formed… and Aharon in response declared that “Tomorrow will be a festival (of offering sacrifices) to HaShem. (NOTE: NOT to the Golden Calf)
Early next day, the people offered up burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; they sat down to eat and drink, and then rose to debauchery. (Ex 32:6)
Then Moses finally arrived and witnessed the scene…
וַיַּרְא מֹשֶׁה אֶת־הָעָם כִּי פָרֻעַ הוּא כִּי־פְרָעֹה אַהֲרֹן לְשִׁמְצָה בְּקָמֵיהֶם׃
Moses saw that the people were out of control—since Aaron had let them get out of control—so that they were a menacea menace Others “an object of derision.” to any who might oppose them. (Ex 32:25)
In the end 3,000 people died who were involved in the debauchery (sexual immorality and idol worship) and more died in a plague later.
However those who donated to what they thought was a just cause, were spared. Only those who rebelled directly against God were punished.
I was born and raised in Canada and have been closely following the “Freedom Convoy” for the last few weeks.
The stated purpose of the rally was a peaceful demonstration against the Prime Minister’s policy of mandates related to Covid.
They have explicitly stated that they are not rebelling against democracy nor the government. It is not an insurrection.
As a result they have received the support of millions of citizens who have donated more than 10 millions dollars!
Anyone who has watched the live video feeds coming from the demonstration can see it is a peaceful protest. There have been no riots, no burned or overturned automobiles, no bombs, no broken shop windows or shop lifting, no physical injuries… even no LITTER (remember this is Canada).
Yet the Prime Minister, choosing to focus on one flag on the first day that had a swastika painted on it and one confederate American flag, has chosen to declare the entire group and anyone who supports them “Nazi Sympathizers!” (Including a Jewish Member of Parliament from the opposition Conservative Party!)
Trudeau perceives the protesters as “occupiers” “laying siege on the city and holding it hostage.” Instead of talking with the representatives of the Truckers, he declares they are “out of control” and “a menace to any who might oppose them” (Those are Moses’ words, not Trudeau’s exact words)
Consequently, Trudeau has activated the “Emergency Measures Act” which gives him the power to nullify the peoples’ right to assemble and protest, making everyone there a criminal. Further, he has the authority to, and has threatened to freeze anyone’s bank account who has donated to help the protesters as well as fine them and/or put them in jail!
I am praying for the safety of everyone involved. May the Almighty open the eyes of Trudeau and let him read the Torah and see that it is unjust to punish someone who donates to what they believe to be a just cause. And that his concern should be only with people who are committing or threatening violence.
As of this writing, I haven’t seen any violence or rebellion from the Trucker’s Convoy and I have no intention of equating or comparing him to the erev rav who worshiped the Golden Calf. I wanted to show that even in the Golden Calf case, God had more mercy than Trudeau is showing to these peaceful demonstrators with a legitimate and just challenge to their Government’s policies.