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    The parsha
    tells us (Shemos
    12:38) that when
    Bnai Yisroel left
    Mitzrayim a tremendous group
    of converts left
    with them. The
    Midrash explains
    that this was Moshe Rabbeinu’s original idea;
    Hakodosh Boruch Hu did not instruct him
    to gather these geirim. Following the cheit
    ha’eigel (Shemos 32:7) Hashem tells Moshe
    Rabbeinu to go down from Har Sinai because
    “your nation” has sinned. Rashi (ibid) quotes
    from the Midrash that Hashem’s choice of
    words – “your nation” – alludes to the eiruv
    rav (the aforementioned group of converts)
    since Hashem would not refer to the Jewish
    people as “your” nation but rather as “my”
    nation. Apparently it was Moshe Rabbeinu’s
    idea to accept all these converts.
    Moshe Rabbeinu was told in advance (Shemos 3:12) that yetzias Mitzrayim is going to
    lead up to ma’amad Har Sinai, and apparently
    he felt that it would be much more honorable
    (“b’rov am hadras Melech”) if there would
    be throngs of people present at Har Sinai for
    the gilui Shechina. His decision turned out to
    be detrimental to the Jewish people because
    this group – the eiruv rav – were the ones who
    instigated the cheit ha’eigel as well as other
    troublesome incidents during the forty years
    of travelling in the midbar.
    The institution of geirus was not originated
    by Moshe Rabbbeinu. Already when Hashem
    chose Avrohom Avinu to be the founder of
    a new nation He notified him that members
    of a different race would be able to convert
    and join the Jewish people (see commentary
    of the Rashbam to Breishis chapter 12:2-3).
    Indeed, the Torah tells us that when Avrohom
    Avinu moved to Eretz Yisroel he brought
    with him many converts (see Breishis 5:12).
    Rashi quotes the tradition from the Midrash
    that Avrohom Avinu was active in converting
    men and Sara Imeinu was active in converting women.
    Even though the halacha of geirus was
    known from the very beginnings of the Jewish people, it was not right for Moshe Rabbeinu to make the decision to accept the eiruv
    rav without consulting Hashem first. Very
    often a halacha appears “on the books” and
    is explicit in the Shulchan Aruch without any
    dispute but it is still a mistake to make a major
    innovation in Jewish observance based on any
    halacha without consulting gedolei Torah. A
    very sad example of this is well known: at the
    beginning of the reform movement in Germany, a group of well-meaning rabbis felt that
    since the masses did not understand Hebrew it
    would be beneficial to have the tzibbur daven
    in German. The Shulchan Aruch does in fact
    quote from the Gemorah that the tefilla which
    is offered by the tzibbur may be recited in the
    vernacular. The gedolei Torah of that generation were not consulted and were all opposed
    to this new innovation for various reasons,
    and we know what terrible results came about
    because of that innovation.
    Moshe Rabbeinu’s idea that having a
    much greater crowd present at Har Sinai
    would enhance Kovod ha’Shechina was apparently not so compelling. True, we have a
    principle that “b’rov am hadras Melech”, but
    on the other hand being overly inclusive runs
    the risk of lowering the level of religious intensity. The nevi’im tell us that l’osid lovoh,
    there will be a fulfillment of the theme of
    malchiyos, i.e. that all of mankind will recognize Hashem, but we are not yet living in
    the time of l’osid l’ovoi. The novi Yeshaya
    said (54) that the day will come that the barren woman will give birth to many children
    and will be rejoicing. This is a reference to
    the fact that the Jewish people will return to
    Eretz Yisroel and will become very great in
    numbers. The Gemorah (Berachos 10a) tells
    us that on one occasion an apikores confronted Bruria, the wife of R’ Meir, regarding the meaning of that posuk. The apikores
    understood the posuk to mean that the barren woman (the Jewish people) rejoices because she has no children, and therefore the
    apikores challenged that this does not make
    any sense – why should a barren woman rejoice over the fact that she has no children?
    Bruria responded, accepting this additional
    level of interpretation of the apikores (that the
    barren woman will rejoice over the fact that
    she has no children), by explaining that the
    Jewish people rejoice in the fact that they are
    still small in number. If we would be much
    greater in numbers this would certainly lower
    the level of the religious observance of the
    masses. (This is, in brief, a famous drosha delivered by Rav Soloveitchik on the gemorrah
    in Berachos about “roni a’kora”.)
    We were told in advance by the nevi’im
    that over the course of the years of galus
    many Jews will assimilate and be lost to our
    nation. We try to do whatever we can in the
    area of kiruv to keep all Jews within the Orthodox fold; but we don’t fall to pieces over
    this loss of numbers.
    Many in our generation make the same
    mistake that Moshe Rabbeinu made and think
    that it is important to have large numbers of
    Jews, and therefore try to be lenient and water
    down the mitzvos a bit so observance should
    be more appealing to the masses. Moshe
    Rabbeinu was told by Hashem after the chet
    ha’eigel that this attitude is improper.