Why did they do it? How could they have done it? Now that they did it, could they do anything about it? What can we do about it? Of course, I am referring to the sin of the Golden Calf, known as the חטא העגל. While we often refer to various incidents by their name, this grievous sin that our forefathers committed in the Wilderness contains many allusions to sin and its antidote.
- The word הָעֵגֶל in א”ת ב”ש is צזרכ, which equals (317) in gematria the words זהו יצר.
- The letters before the letters עֵגֶל are סְּבַךְ, alluding to the Satan who caused the ram to be caught in the thicket, i.e. the Evil Inclination entangles man in his web of deceit. The מילוי of the word הסבך is ה”א סמ”ך בי”ת כ”ף, which equals (638) in gematria the words יצר שלט. Furthermore, the word בַּסְּבַךְ in א”ת ב”ש is שחשל, which equals in gematria the words יצר שלט.
- The מילוי of the word הָעֵגֶל is ה”א עיי”ן גימ”ל למ”ד which equals (302) in gematria the word ביצר, with the Evil Inclination.
- The letters after the letters עֵגֶל are פדכ, which equals (104) in gematria the word עֵגֶל.
- The word מַסֵּכָה in א”ת ב”ש is יחלצ, which equals (138) in gematria the words זה מַסֵּכָה.
- The word עֵגֶל equals (103) in gematria the word סלוח, forgiveness.
- The word חטא in א”ת ב”ש is סנת, which equals (510) in gematria the words כח עמלק גרם, the power of Amalek caused the sin.
- The words עגל מסכה in א”ת ב”ש is זרכ יחלצ, which equals (365) in gematria the word השטן.
The Sfas Emes writes that Amalek caused the sin of the Golden Calf. The Gemara (Avoda Zara 4b-5a) states that the reason the Jewish People worshiped the Golden Calf was to serve as an inspiration to other sinners that they could repent from their sins. Essentially, the sin of the Golden Calf was its own antidote. We can read about this sin and become disheartened. It would be wise of us, however, to realize that HaShem wishes that we learn from this sin how low one can stoop and still recover, achieving full atonement for ones sins.
Have an Inspirational and Repenting Shabbos!