This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tisa, contains the episode of the Golden Calf. The Israelites miscounted the days when Moses was up on the mountain, and they said to Aaron, “Who knows where Moses went?” The Israelites persuaded Aaron to make an idol representing God.
How many times have we made a golden calf, replacing our reality by the golden calf? We envy our neighbors when they have better material things than we have, but we can enjoy the material possessions we have instead. Who needs a 75-inch television?
We envy our friends because, in our opinion, they have a better job than we have. The job that we have gives us satisfaction, and the job that we have does not give us satisfaction, change jobs. Enough with the envy.
We envy our friends because, in our opinion, they have happy family and a beautiful or handsome spouse or partner. We should be content with our family and spouse or partner, or work to make the situation better.
The golden calf is an excuse for denigrating what we have. The golden calf is an idol that memorializes the saying, “The grass is greener of the far side of the hill.” The Israelites were not willing to work to ensure their new freedom and they were not willing to work to comply God’s commandments. We should not make a golden calf.