Heeding the Call to God

Yael Eckstein  |  February 17, 2022

Black and white Illustration of Moses holding the 10 Commandments.

So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. — Exodus 32:26

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tisa, which means “when you raise up,” from Exodus 30:11—34:35.

Have you ever heard the call of God? Have you ever been in a situation where there was a need to fight the battle for faith and you were called to action? Let’s be honest, we live in challenging times. Sometimes it can feel as though everything in society is working against our biblical values. It can be overwhelming.

When I start to feel this way, I look back to the past generations who stood against evil and fought for God’s values. I think about the “Greatest Generation” who fought the Nazis in World War II. I think about the Jewish pioneers who drained the swamps and laid the foundation for the modern state of Israel.

And I think of my father, my abba, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, of blessed memory, who heeded the call of God to begin building bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews, despite the opposition and ridicule to those early efforts.

All of them were people just like us. What made them great was their choice to heed the call of God.

Heeding the Call to God

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about one of the lowest moments in the early history of the nation of Israel, the making of the Golden Calf.

When Moses came down from the mountain, he saw the people worshiping the golden calf, dancing, and offering sacrifices. Only a few short weeks after hearing God’s voice declare the Ten Commandments, it seemed that everything had completely unraveled. In anger, Moses threw down the tablets of the Ten Commandments, shattering them into pieces.

When Moses asked Aaron what happened, Aaron defended himself by describing the people as “prone to evil.” Like many of us do, Aaron looked at the behavior of the society around him and saw a situation that was a lost cause. Aaron had given up on Israel.

At that point, Moses put out a call to action: So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him” (Exodus 32:26).

The Levites were a very small percentage of the nation of Israel. The majority was caught up in the immorality of the moment. By heeding the call to God, the Levites turned back the tide of sin that had taken over the people. Because of the courage of the Levites, God’s covenant with Israel was restored.

Like the Levites, we must heed God’s call: “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.”

Your Turn:

What can you do today to step forward and obey God’s call to stand up for biblical values?

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