Legacy Project

Weekly Unscrolled Torah Portion: Ki Tissa

February 18, 2022

“It tells the people, You’re behaving like pigs. And this notion, written into the book of Exodus thousands of years later by people with their own agendas, that the Israelites bowed before it as if it were God? Not true! The golden calf—I will call it that, as that’s how it’s become known—was a symbol, a way of concentrating the brain, giving the people something to look at as they worshiped the pillar of smoke or fire they followed in the desert. (And what is a pillar of smoke or fire if not another kind of symbol?) Why? Because they needed it. Moses had left, God was talking to someone else, and they needed a rail to hold.”

Ki Tissa

Rich Cohen is the New York Times-bestselling author of Tough Jews, Monsters, Sweet and Low, The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones, The Chicago Cubs, and The Last Pirate of New York, and, with Jerry Weintraub, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead. He is the cocreator of the HBO series Vinyl, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and a writer at large for Air Mail. He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Harper’s Magazine, among other publications. Cohen has won the Great Lakes Book Award, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. He lives in Connecticut.

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