Parashat Ki Tissa
This week’s is a parashah of both rupture and reconciliation. The creation of and worship of the golden calf was an unpardonable sin, and those who participated in it full-heartedly did not merit God’s forgiveness. Fortunately, God did not sever His relationship with the Jewish people entirely. Through the power of Moshe’s person and Moshe’s prayer, God allowed for the people to continue on their journey into the promised land. However, according to Rabbinic tradition, despite Moshe’s prominent role, the paradigm for prayer that we learn from in this week’s parashah is not Moshe, but rather God Himself. According to the Talmud, God models prayer for us and even prays Himself. But, what does it mean to say that God prays? Who does He pray to and for what does He pray? If prayer is simply asking a powerful God for what we want because we are powerless to get it on our own, it makes no sense for God to pray. When we see prayer as something that is relevant for God to do, it can shift and deepen our understanding of what we are or should be doing in our own prayers. We can learn a lot about what prayer could mean for us, when we see it from God’s vantage point.