Well, I hope your Sukkot is going better than mine. I've been sick essentially since I woke up Sunday in a beautiful house hidden away in the Poconos. By late Sunday and early Monday, I was practically comatose. I didn't go to Hebrew class, and I spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed, schluffing around in my comfy pants and going through boxes of Kleenex. But now? I'm feeling quite a bit better, as my illin' has been relegated mostly to utter congestion and some minor issues of breathing.
But the days of sickness gave me a lot of time to read, and read I have. About what? The golden calf of course! It's interesting how many random roads I've trekked down thanks to my recently heightened research. For example, there was a period of time where the golden calf episode wasn't mentioned in synagogues in Israel (we're talking way, way back in the day, like 2nd century CE) -- known as a "tradition of concealment." I can't seem to find much on it, though. Then there are three writers who "rewrote" the incident in their own unique ways, the two well-known among them being Philo and Josephus. The former brushed around the incident of idolatry, because to him the purpose of the incident was to emphasize the choosing of the Levites as the auxiliary priesthood. The latter, Josephus, bypassed the entire episode in his writing -- why? Probably because of the anti-Jewish mockery by writers of the time. Josephus likely wanted to keep his gentile readers from getting certain "impressions" about Jews and animal worship. Then there are all these avenues of thought about how the incident wasn't a violation of the first commandment, but rather just of the second since it was creating an image/likeness of what is on "the earth below," but that it was meant either as G-d or Moses, but either way the people weren't replacing G-d, but rather were worshiping ... well ... that's a whole other story.
Anyway, I'm getting excited. I just need to ORGANIZE my thoughts. We'll see how I feel after our grad student meeting tomorrow when we reveal where our research is taking us.
I hope you all are enjoy Sukkos, and I'm stoked for Simchat Torah :)