Seeds of Rebellion
Our Sages explain that this chapter, which is in this week's Torah portion, serves as a break between one sin of our ancestors and another. The second sin is their unjustified rebellious complaint against G-d which is clearly recorded. The first one is hidden in the words "they traveled away from the mountain of G-d" which was sinful in the fact that they were anxious to leave Mount Sinai lest more commandments be imposed upon them — thus acting in the manner of "the child running away from school".
The connection between abandoning a relationship with G-d and a rebellion against Him can be seen in the findings of a recent study of classroom discipline in state secular schools in Israel. Over one-third of the 150 teachers interviewed admitted that they do not punish violent students for fear of getting hurt or having their property damaged.
When Torah values are neglected the inevitable result is rebellion against any form of authority. These seeds of rebellion must not be allowed to grow into a threat to Israel forever.