Ki Tisa: The afternoon of the day that the Torah was given, Moshe ascended Mount Sinai for forty days of solitude. He spent his time studying the newly received code with its Divine author. Waiting impatiently at the foot of the mountain was the Jewish nation, who mistakenly anticipated Moshe’s arrival on the thirty ninth day.
According to their miscalculation, Moshe had tarried in his return from the mountaintop. His absence led them to conclude that he was no longer alive and that they would never see him again. Convinced that they were left abandoned and leaderless in the desert, the Israelites, edged-on by the “Mixed multitude” (the Egyptian converts who joined the Jewish nation at the time of the exodus), panicked and completely lost their footing.
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