Ki-Tissa means “when you take,” referring to what Israel is to do when it takes a census of all the people. Most censuses in the ancient world are used for the purposes of taxation. This census is no different, except the “tax” is not for an emperor, but for YHWH’s Tabernacle. This “innocent” start though is misleading as it will then progress from those details to the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, only to culminate in disaster when Israel worships the golden calf. In a sense it parallels the pattern we saw with Yitro, except instead of preparation of infrastructure leading to enlightenment it leads to despair and grief. Fortunately though the portion does also end on a hopeful note.