Friday, March 9, 2012

Where are your Horns?

Yes, my friends we come to the Parsha, Ki Tisa,  which discusses Moses horns as so many call them.
Ever wonder where this ridiculous idea came from that Jews have horns? It comes from these sentences in Exodus 34:30-35. Hebrew added for those that want the details.
30. that Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses and behold! the skin of his face had become radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.   ל. וַיַּרְא אַהֲרֹן וְכָל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת מֹשֶׁה וְהִנֵּה קָרַן עוֹר פָּנָיו וַיִּירְאוּ מִגֶּשֶׁת אֵלָיו:
31. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the princes of the community returned to him, and Moses would speak to them.   לא. וַיִּקְרָא אֲלֵהֶם מֹשֶׁה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ אֵלָיו אַהֲרֹן וְכָל הַנְּשִׂאִים בָּעֵדָה וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֲלֵהֶם:
32. Afterwards all the children of Israel would draw near, and he would command them everything that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.   לב. וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן נִגְּשׁוּ כָּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְצַוֵּם אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינָי:
33. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he placed a covering over his face.   לג. וַיְכַל מֹשֶׁה מִדַּבֵּר אִתָּם וַיִּתֵּן עַל פָּנָיו מַסְוֶה:
34. When Moses would come before the Lord to speak with Him, he would remove the covering until he left; then he would leave and speak to the children of Israel what he would be commanded.   לד. וּבְבֹא מֹשֶׁה לִפְנֵי יְ־הֹוָ־ה לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ יָסִיר אֶת הַמַּסְוֶה עַד צֵאתוֹ וְיָצָא וְדִבֶּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת אֲשֶׁר יְצֻוֶּה:
35. Then the children of Israel would see Moses' face, that the skin of Moses' face had become radiant, and [then] Moses would replace the covering over his face until he would come [again] to speak with Him.   לה. וְרָאוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת פְּנֵי מֹשֶׁה כִּי קָרַן עוֹר פְּנֵי מֹשֶׁה וְהֵשִׁיב מֹשֶׁה אֶת הַמַּסְוֶה עַל פָּנָיו עַד בֹּאוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּ



The Hebrew word for horn would be transliterated as Koren. The sentence says Kahran (transliterated) which embodies light or radiance.

What else would you expect from someone who just met face to face so to speak with God? That they would grow horns?! For sane, logical and intellectual people to think one grows horns from seeing God is interesting.

Now that question about seeing my horns, is that because you want me to reveal what God is like to you? Would you prefer to think that I was so gifted? Trust me, I have tons of questions for God and I am sure you do as well.
So what does this have to do with business? When someone has a presence or an aura about them, and I don't mean actors/actresses, I mean someone who is a titan of business or a leader of people, these people glow from within.

They can embody that which many of us can not. They can diffuse tense situations, orchestrate complex dealings into simple efforts, produce impossible conclusions. In short the have been blessed by God and you recognize that power when you are in their presence.

And that is why the translation of horns makes no sense and when you are faced with data or guidelines that do not make sense, you need to dig deeper to understand the real explanations.

Parsha Ki Tisa in the book of Shemot Exodus 30:11 - 34:35

It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom


  1. When I was around 14, I was dating this girl who invited me to her house for dinner. When I got there the father was looking at me very carefully and actually walked around me two or three times. He then asked me where my horns and tail were. I thought he was kidding around and thought that because I was dating his daughter he must think of me as a devil. When he told me that all Jews had horns and tails, I got up and walked out. That was the first and only time I have ever heard such a thing. I had to ask my parents what he meant and they explained it to me. That was the first time I ever felt that level of ignorance and bigotry in my life.

  2. Roy, I think many of us have come across it at one time or another. It's unfortunate, the tail thing is amusing since AFAIK it was never about us being the devil.
    since I always forget where this came from I wanted to write it up to remind myself.