When Moshe Rabeinu came down from Har Sinai it says וירא את העגל ומחולות – And he saw the eigel and the dances. What was the dancing about?
When they made the eigel, there was a happiness because it was to them a great relief. כִּי זֶה מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הֶֽעֱלָנוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֹא יָדַעְנוּ מֶה הָיָה לֽוֹ – Because this man Moshe who took us out of Mitzrayim, we don’t know what happened to him. Moshe Rabbeinu was their contact with Hakodosh Boruch Hu and now they thought he’s so many days on the mountain, the time came to come down and he didn’t show up. We don’t know what happened! They were afraid he got lost, he was killed. He was finished. What’s going to happen to us? We’re left without our contact to Hashem.
Now, they were accustomed to the ideas of the world that the contact of Hakodosh Boruch Hu with us is by means of some image and so they thought, “We want to make a certain object where the Shechina should rest and make contact with us.”
Now this image, however, was made as the פני השור שבמרכבה. It was the image of the ox in the merkava. And therefore they thought that at least was kosher. They didn’t want to make one of the keruvim. The keruvim looks like a human being. An image of a human being, that’s too much chutzpah to make; it looks like an avodah zara. So they took an eigel, a kosher animal, and they thought that the Shechina would rest on the eigel and therefore by means of that contact they’d continue having some kind of a connection with Hakodosh Boruch Hu. That was the intention. The meforshim say that. The Rishonim say that this was their intention.
And that’s why Aharon yielded. He yielded because he thought their intentions were good. The act itself was not right, but what can you do in an emergency? The people are already in despair. Moshe is not here! What should we do?! And therefore, he gave them permission to do that and make a contact with Hakodosh Boruch Hu by the means of an eigel. And the Shechina would rest on the eigel and thereby they’d still continue to have the Shechina with them.
And so, when they made that eigel they were so happy that they danced. Why do we dance today on Simchas Torah? Why do we dance? And the answer is we’re happy before Hashem. Now, I’m sure they danced with more yiras Shamayim than we dance on Simchas Torah. On Simchas Torah we dance and we forget what we’re dancing about. We dance and dance; we don’t know what we’re dancing about. It’s like fun. It becomes fun. We forget the purpose of dancing on Simchas Torah. But when they were dancing at the eigel, they were dancing because they were happy because once more they were being joined to Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
But Hakodosh Boruch Hu said, “Nothing doing! My Torah should never be transgressed. I said you cannot make an image – matter how good your intentions are, it’s forbidden to make an image.” That was their sin. And so Moshe Rabbeinu said, “Nothing doing! No matter how good you think you’re becoming, you’re doing it in the wrong way.”
TAPE # E-269