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How G-d sees us

Forgiveness of the sin of the golden calf is symbolically achieved by the half-shekel that is donated to the Temple. On the other hand, a person's value, according to the Talmud, is set at fifty shekels.
This is a lesson of how we should understand G-d's perception of us. If the most severe sin, the golden calf, is valued at one percent of the value of a person, than G-d wants us to realize that when we know that we have sinned, even so He still perceives us as 99% of what we were and certainly we will be more than 100% after we repent and grow from the process.

- Heard from Rabbi Kaganoff

A Jew is a Jew is a Jew, no matter what. He enjoys an unequivocal relationship with the Almighty regardless of the extent to which he actualizes it in his daily behavior. But the realization of this relationship, the manner in which his physical being and daily life can be brought to reflect and actualize his quintessential self, is the Torah way of life.

- Beyond the Letter of the Law pg. 81


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