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ויאספו אליו כל בני לוי

And all Bnei Levi gathered around him. (32:26)

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Moshe Rabbeinu issued a call to arms, and Shevet Levi, the tribe which stood strong, defying the rabble-rousers who created the Golden Calf, came forward in his support. What happened to the rest of the nation? In total, only three thousand men worshipped the molten idol. Where was everyone else? Did they not hear Moshe call out Mi l’Hashem eilai, “Whoever is for Hashem, join me!”?

Horav Leib Chasman, zl, explains that, while one may not agree with the rebellion against Hashem and not support them in any way, he still may not be ready to take a stand against them. From “silent” disagreement to joining Moshe to wage war against the idol worshippers is a chasm that most are not willing to traverse.

Varied reasons exist for this form of indifference. Some individuals fear actual confrontation with evil forces. Others may neither perceive the evil as being that bad, nor view it as a threat to their well-being. Some are clueless to spiritual evil, not understanding how it can undermine and destroy a people. Yet others do not agree with the measures that they should take against the usurpers.

This idea does not apply only to the sin of the Golden Calf. It is an ongoing debate within every community. Realizing and recognizing evil is much different than doing something to combat it. Acknowledging evil is so much more passive than overt confrontation.

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