“They are given to me from amongst the Children of Israel…and I have
taken the Levites instead of the first born” (Bemidbar 8:16)
When the Jewish people left Egypt, the first born were chosen to serve as
the priests in the future House of G-d. When they joined with those who
sinned with the Golden Calf, they lost their place of honor amongst the
Children of Israel. The call of Moshe was “Who is for G- - come to me”
brought a throng of men from the tribe of Levi to purge the camp of
sinners and silence the wrath of G-d. Their reward was a special place of
service to G-d originally intended for the first born.
When Rabbi Shimon Schwab zt’l was a young man he had the special merit to
visit the great of his generation the Chafetz Chayim zt’l.
Upon entering the room the Chafetz Chayim asked: "Are you a Cohen or a
“I am a Yisrael,” the young Rabbi answered.
“I am a Cohen,” boasted the sage, “Do you know what the difference is?
Soon the Mashiach will arrive and we will all enter the newly built Bet
haMikdash. After passing through the first courtyard together you will be
stopped and I will be amongst the privileged few to go inside to serve in
the Temple and you will be kept out.”
The young man was taken aback by the seemingly haughty behavior of the
legendary scholar who was known for his modesty.
“Do you know why this will be?” continued the Chafetz Chayim. “When Moshe
called for those loyal to Hashem to come forward and to purge the camp of
those who sinned with the Golden Calf my ancestors came and yours did not.
From that moment forward we are privileged and you are not. The envy that
will be felt is a result of our predecessors’ behavior at a crucial moment
3300 years ago.”
“Now I will tell you why I am relating this to you. In every person’s life
there are times when the call goes out and says, “Who is for G-d, come to
me”. When you hear this inner voice jump at the opportunity – don’t delay.
Don’t repeat the mistake of your great, great grandparents. They lost out
for eternity. Please jump at the opportunity because what they impacted
negatively you can impact positively. It is a moment of choice that can
effect you and your offspring forever.”
We too will get the call. It may be an opportunity to join in a group out
to do good for the community or it may be an individual decision that
could change your life. It will come. Be ready. It is the chance of a
lifetime and beyond