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“Go down because your people who you took out of Egypt have been corrupted. They have veered away quickly from the path I have commanded them .They have made themselves a molten image.” Shemot 23:7
Moshe Rabenu spent 40 days and forty nights on Mt. Sinai with no food or drink. He was learning the entire Torah directly from Hashem. At the end of the 40 days Hashem gave him two tablets to carry down the mountain and gift to the Jewish people.
In the meantime, the people who were anxiously waiting for Moshe's return, miscalculated the 40 day period he had told them he would be away. The Midrash teaches that the Satan confused them and convinced them that Moshe had died in Heaven and was not going to ever return. In fear and confusion over their leaderless future they mobbed around Aharon and demanded action. The result was a Golden calf around which thousands of people danced and reveled.
Hashem told Moshe "Go down because your people had been spoiled; they have made for themselves a molten calf image."
Moshe descended the mountain. He met his loyal student Yehoshua. They heard wild noises from the camp. Yehoshua suggested it sounded like a military attack. Moshe corrected him and told him it is no such thing. Then Moshe continued down the mountain. When he saw the people happily dancing around the idol he smashed the Tablets of Testimony. He then prayed for Hashem not to destroy them and began the process of cleansing of the camp from the wicked people and the terrible idol.
The question may be asked: "How come Moshe carried the Tablets down the mountain ? He had heard from Hashem what was transpiring below. Why didn't he smash the Tablets immediately?
We might propose that he wanted the people to see what he was doing. They would then see the contrast between what they could have had and what result their sin had caused. This he felt would drive them to proper repentance.
Another answer has relevance to each of us in every generation. Moshe wanted to teach that if one HEARS something about another one should not react until one does proper investigation of the facts. He had heard from Hashem Himself. He did not at all suspect that the facts were at unlike the report from the Almighty. He knew it to be true to the last detail. However, he wanted Jews for all time to know that if you hear about another you must check on the facts and reach your own conclusions. This may take a second look at the details. This may take patience. BUT this is necessary for preventing the great sin of accepting gossip about another.
In today's high speed world people tend to react quickly and take action without thought. Moshe Rabenu taught us ALWAYS reconsider before you act. The second look raises you conclusion accuracy rate to safe levels. Stop! Think! then act
Shabbat Shalom

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