http://revach.net/article.php?id=5102

Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Life Lessons
Parshas Korach: Vilna Gaon - A Good Machlokes Doesn't Disappears

The Mishna in Pirkei Avos (5:17) says that a machlokes like Hillel and Shammai that is L'Shem Shamayim is Sofo Lihiskayem and will last, while a machlokes that is not L'Shem Shamayim like Korach, Ein Sofo Lihiskayem, will not last. Shouldn't a machlokes L'Shem Shamayim eventually resolve itself, while one based on ulterior motives should carry on indefinitely?

The Vilna Gaon explains that a machlokes rooted in hidden agendas and ulterior motives will change like a chameleon. As the argument carries on, it will grow and spread and no one will remember how or why it started. Whatever ignited it was not substantial, but only opportunistic and insignificant. Other times, a machlokes becomes personal and takes on a life of its own and people forget why they started fighting in the first place, so the original machlokes is not Miskayem.

However, if a machlokes is L'Shem Shamayim, there is nothing hidden and nothing personal. The only point of contention is and will always remain the disputed issue and will continue to be fought with clarity and integrity.