The Census Tax and the Golden Calf

Today’s “parasha” {פרשה} (weekly Torah portion) is “Ki Tissa” {כי תשא} – which is the ninth “parasha” in the Book of Exodus and is found in Exodus 30:11–34:35.
This “parasha” discusses two issues: the census tax of the people of Israel and the episode of the Golden Calf. The second verse of the “parasha” is:

“When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the LORD when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them.” (Exodus 30:12)

In the original Hebrew, the phrase ‘when you take’ is “Ki Tissa” {כי תשא} and that is the meaning of the weekly Torah portion’s name.

The English translation gives the most logical option in regard to the action of counting the people of Israel (‘to take’ the census). The Hebrew verb “La-se’th” {לשאת} (the infinitive form of “Tissa”{תשא}) has also other meanings such as ‘ to bear’ and ‘to carry’, and even sometimes could be translated as ‘to suffer’ and to ‘tolerate’. 

According to one of the interpretations, it is not ‘a coincidence’ that this specific Hebrew verb was chosen to open this week’s Torah portion because it has implications regarding the next main issue – the sin of the Golden Calf.