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Rabbi Elazar quotes this verse and says that in addition to the Erev Rav the Israelites were also part of the cause of negativity that started the plague.
Rabbi Shimon answered that they were saved from the angel of death and the plague but they were not purified from the actual negativity.
The Zohar teaches us that when the Torah mentions ‘the people’ or ‘the nation’ it refers to the Erev Rav. The Israelites are referred to as ‘the children of Israel’ or ‘Israel’. In the verse below the Israelites who participated in the sin are called ‘ראשי העם’ ‘the Chiefs of the people’, a form that lowered them to the level of the Erev Rav. The word ראשי ,’chiefs/heads’ has 4 letters of the word Israel, missing the letter ל Lamed that goes above the line and reach higher level. The numerical value of its elements (Kaf and Vav) is 26 as YHVH.
Pinchas saved them from the automatic judgment so they can be ‘judged’ and be cleansed properly. This gave them a better way to correct their sin in the next incarnations. The people that sinned hang in front of all the people so that experience will help in the cleansing and correction of the other people. We read that in Numbers 25:4
“ וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, קַח אֶת-כָּל-רָאשֵׁי הָעָם, וְהוֹקַע אוֹתָם לַיהוָה, נֶגֶד הַשָּׁמֶשׁ; וְיָשֹׁב חֲרוֹן אַף-יְהוָה, מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל”
“And YHVH said unto Moses: ‘Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them up unto YHVH in face of the sun, that the fierce anger of YHVH may turn away from Israel.’”
After the sin of the Golden Calf, Moses gathered the Israelites to give them opportunity to separate themselves from the Erev Rav.
“ וַיַּקְהֵל מֹשֶׁה, אֶת-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל”
“And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel”
Their opportunity to correct was by giving from what they had at their own free will to the work of the Holy tabernacle. When they connected their energy with the Holy, it helped them cleanse themselves.
“ דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְיִקְחוּ-לִי תְּרוּמָה: מֵאֵת כָּל-אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְּבֶנּוּ לִבּוֹ, תִּקְחוּ אֶת-תְּרוּמָתִי”
“’Speak unto the children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering; of every man whose heart maketh him willing ye shall take My offering”
The lessons from this Zohar is that even if righteous person positively influences the spiritual level of the people around him, they are still responsible for their actions. Another lesson is that making an effort in any way you can to support the spreading of light in the world is a positive connection that helps with spiritual cleansing and elevation.