By: Hadassah Reich (11th Grade)
This week’s Parsha, Parshat Ki Tisa, talks about the Kiyor, the cleansing water basin that the Kohanim used before serving in the Beit Hamikdash. This topic seems out of place because the vessels used in the Beit Hamikdash were already discussed in the previous Parsha. What is so unique about the Kiyor that it is mentioned distinctly and specifically in this Parsha?
To understand the context of this question we must analyze a key moment in Ki Tisa: The Golden Calf. After witnessing this infamous sin, Hashem says, “Now, let Me be, that My anger may blaze forth against them and that I may destroy them, and make of you a great nation” (Perek 32, Pasuk 10). At this moment, Hashem is infuriated. He is fully prepared to destroy Bnei Yisrael and start from scratch. However, four Psukim later, it seems that Hashem changes His mind. The Pasuk says, “And the Lord renounced the punishment He had planned to bring upon His people.” Despite the horrible act of idolatry that Bnei Yisrael participated in, Hashem showed mercy.
In many places in the Torah, water is seen as a purifier. The Kiyor represents this very idea. Kohanim were required to clean their hands and feet with the water in the Kiyor before working. The juxtaposition of the Kiyor’s cleansing ability to one of the greatest sins of all time in Jewish history shows that no matter how impure we are there is always a way back to Hashem. If we make the effort to cleanse ourselves and do Teshuvah, Hashem will forgive us.