13 Adar I 5771
Because in a non-leap year, Parshat Ki Tisa is also Parshat Parah, we do not usually read the haftarah designated for Ki Tisa. But, this year, we do. And what is the subject? Eliyahu HaNavi and the incident with the prophets of Ba'al on Mt Carmel.
Interesting that this came up at the holiday of Hanukah because of the Carmel fire and now at Purim Katan which according to Rabbi Sitorsky: "Purim Katan has within it the kedusha and aura of Purim. ...Whatever Purim stands for, so does Purim Katan."
Among other things, this parshah deals with The Golden Calf Affair. What is the connection between all these things? Teshuvah!
Rabbi Sitorsky says that this is the parshah of teshuvah, when "teshuvah becomes a reality." He says that Adar and Elul are sister months. Adar is to Nisan what Elul is to Tishrei and Yom HaKippurim is the day that is k'purim---like Purim.
After the cheit ha'eigel we see Moshe Rabeinu adjuring the Children of Israel: "Mi l'Hashem elai! " Whoever is for Hashem, come to me!
Upon Mt Carmel, Eliyahu HaNavi adjures the Children of Israel to stop hopping between two opposing ideas, "If Hashem is G-d, go after Him, if Ba'al is god, then go after him." But, basically, make up your minds already!
The crux of the matter is this: YOU HAVE TO MAKE A CHOICE! Hashem told us He is a jealous G-d. He will not share our loyalty with any other.
The Jews attending Achashverosh's banquet was a supreme act of disloyalty to Hashem, just like the cheit ha'eigel was. In the midbar, Hashem was ready to wipe out Bnei Yisrael---men, women and children---and start over again with Moshe Rabbeinu's progeny, but Moshe Rabeinu stood in the gap for us. In Shushan, Hashem allowed Haman, y"sh to issue a decree to wipe out Bnei Yisrael---men women and children---until Esther HaMalka stood in the gap for us.
In all cases, it was our teshuvah which saved us in the end and it's no different today. The same choice stands before us. Each of us must examine himself honestly and truthfully to ascertain whether there is anything---anything at all---that comes first in our lives before Hashem Yitbarach.
There is still time to do teshuvah, but nobody knows when he will breathe his last breath in this world and then it will be too late.