R. Paul Saal: A Perfect Fall
So the story of the Golden Calf is really the story of each of us. It is no accident that Aaron fashions the idol and Israel falls to it at the very moment God gives Israel the tablets of the covenant. In this respect it is the perfect fall. One of the major lessons that we can take away is the realization that there will be times that we fall, that we find ourselves in very dark places. What precipitates our fall is of penultimate importance. What is ultimately most important that we realize we need this fall, we need the dark moment in which we find ourselves. It is only when we realize it is dark that we can see the light!The lesson to Israel, and the lesson for us, is to separate the dark place where we have arrived from the action that has brought us to it. I believe at the moment of Gemmar HaTikkun (the final repair all things) we are going to look back and see how perfect each of our mistakes was. Israel fell for us and in turn we fall for the sake of others.
The question is how to reconcile this sentiment with Romans 3:5-8, and similar lines of thought.