Never Give Up Hope

In Parshat Ki Tisa, the tribe of Levi, even in the toughest of times did not give up hope.

Here is some background. God told Moshe to ascend Mt. Sinai in Shmot 24:12, "Come up to me to the mountain and remain there. I will give you the tablets of stone, the Torah and the commandment, which I have written in order to teach them." At that point, God did not specify how many days Moshe would be up there. When almost 40 days went by and Moshe had still not returned, many were afraid that he would not be coming back.

According to Eben Ezra, B'nai Yisrael saw that no manna was falling on Mt. Sinai and many believed that Moshe could not possibly survive. They did what many do in a crisis situation, they panicked. Their panache ultimately led to Chet HaEgel, the sin of the golden calf.

The Gemara in Yoma 66b states that the tribe of Levi did not participate in Chet HaEgel. Rav Yehudah said: The tribe of Levi did not commit the sin of idolatry as it is stated in Shmot 32:26 "And Moshe stood in the gate of the camp and said: .Whoever is for God join me'- and all (kol) of the tribe of Levi gathered around him". According to Rashi the word kol, all, denotes that the entire tribe was kosher (did not sin).

What was the reward for the Leviim? They were separated to work in the Mishkan (tabernacle). "Bring the tribe of Levi near and have them stand before Aharon HaKohen and they should serve him" (Bamidbar 3:6). "At this time God separated the tribe of Levi to carry the case of God's covenant to stand before God, to serve Him and bless Him until this day" (Devarim 10:8).

The tribe of Levi did not lose hope even in the toughest of times. They were therefore given the honors that should have gone to the bechorim, the firstborn sons of each tribe who lost their privileges by worshipping the golden calf.

We must do what we can to emulate the tribe of Levi and even in the toughest of times, never give up hope.