Section:  Avodah   Category: Ahavas Yisroel
Rav Shimon Schwab - Sensitivity Even To The Worshippers Of The Eigel
As Moshe came down from Har Sinai, Yehoshua tells him "Kol Milchama BaMachaneh," I hear the voice of war in the camp (Ki Sisa 32:`17).  To this, says the Yerushalmi, Moshe answered, he doesn't know the difference between noises, how can he lead a nation of 600,000 people?

Rav Shimon Schwab asks what is the connection between differentiating noises from afar and leading people?  He answers that Yehoshua knew the noise was that of wild partying and drunkenness.  However he thought that it was the result of a war of rebellion against Hashem. Moshe's tells him "Ein Kol Anos Gevura... Kol Anos Ani Shomei'a".  This is not the sound of rebellion rather it is the cry from pain of a broken heart.  It is the drunkenness of a people who think that they have been abandoned in the barren wilderness by their leader who will not return.  Out of despair and hopelessness, they are drinking away their troubles.

Moshe chastises Yehoshua and says that if you are going to lead the nation, you need to distinguish between people who sin out of rebellion and get intoxicated with their arrogance, and the lost souls who sin out of pain and hardship whose soul cries for help.  These are the people that can one day return, if you recognize their plight and help them.