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“And Chatzeros and Di Zahav.” (1:1)

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  Rashi explains that “Chatzeiros” refers to the dispute of Korach and “Di Zahav” refers to the Golden Calf, which Bnei Yisroel made as a result of the abundance of gold that they possessed. This explanation is not in chronological order since the sin of the Golden Calf happened prior to the dispute of Korach. Why then does Moshe change the order of transgressions during his rebuke of Klal Yisroel?

The posuk in referring to the people’s request of Aharon to make another “leader” states: And they said to him make for us an oracle (or G-d) to lead us. We have no idea what happened to Moshe, the man who brought us out of Egypt (Shemos 32:1). The Alshich questions the reference to Moshe as “Moshe the man.” Isn’t it obvious that Moshe was a human being? We may suggest a response by first explaining the people’s apparent need for new leadership after the Satan deceived them into believing that Moshe had died. Is Klal Yisroel so deprived of leadership that there did not exist a suitable replacement for Moshe? Did not Yehoshua assume the mantle of leadership upon Moshe’s death? We must therefore suggest that their mistake was in assuming that Moshe’s greatness was so eminent that there did not exist another human being that was in any way capable of replacing him. The rationale for this assumption was his leading them out of Egypt, a land from which until that time was considered inescapable. This was their imperative to Aharon “make for us a God“, since there is no human who can replace Moshe the man who had the ability to lead us out of Egypt. Despite the awesome sin of the Bnei Yisroel with the Golden Calf, perhaps, they had some sort of excuse for their behavior; they possessed a mistaken belief in Moshe’s supreme uniqueness. This excuse was, however, shattered during the dispute of Korach. When the assemblage questioned Moshe’s qualification to lead them, there was a clear indication of the inexcusable duplicity of their earlier rationale. Consequently when Moshe rebukes them for their past sins, he first mentions the dispute of Korach, as ultimate proof of their transgression with the Golden Calf.

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