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Home » Korach

Korach: Food for Thought for your Dinner Table

Submitted by on June 22, 2008 – 4:01 amNo Comment | 4,178 views

Sunday: Ice

The name Korach shares its root letters with the Hebrew word Kerach, Ice. Korach led a rebellion against Moshe and the Divine order. What led Korach, a distinguished member of the tribe of Levi, to betray his tribesmen and his holy mission? It was his apathy. He was consumed with self interest and was completely disinterested in anything else. The lesson for us is that apathy, uncaring coldness toward the plight of others and toward the needs of the nation, is a path that leads to personal, and sometimes even communal, destruction.

Monday: The Nature of Leadership

“Not a single donkey have I taken from them and have harmed not one of them”, exclaimed Moshe when he heard the accusations made against him by Korach and his supporters. Leaders that receive large salaries are often condemned by the public when they fall short of expectation. The public resents the salary received by the leader and grumbles about his inefficiencies. Leaders who rebuke sinners by name create enemies who later condemn them. Moshe proclaimed that he was innocent of either charge. I have neither taken anything from these people nor have I harmed, shamed or rebuked a single one of them. Their claims against me are not justified. Ksav Sofer

Tuesday: When One Man Sins

G-d proposed to Moshe that He would punish the entire nation, Moshe replied, “Shall your wrath extend to the entire congregation for the sin of one man?”

Man sees through eyes of the flesh, but G-d reads our thoughts. Though the multitudes did not articulate their support of Korach’s rebellion, G-d was aware that they had been swayed by his arguments and were secretly in support of his rebellion. Moshe inferred from G-d’s words that the nation had been swayed, but still argued for clemency. It might be true that the nation was convinced, but the fault, argued Moshe, lies with just one man – Korach. G-d accepted the argument and spared the nation. Ramban

Wednesday: Whose Fault was It

The morning after Korach and his band died in the sudden earthquake, the nation accused Moshe of murdering Korach. Why did they blame Moshe for a sudden earthquake, quite a natural (read miraculous) phenomenon? Also, why did they wait for the next morning to advance their accusation?

The nation knew that they too were guilty of heresy as they too supported Korach. If G-d had instigated the punishment of Korach, the people reasoned that they too would be punished because G-d knew their thoughts. From the fact that they were spared they deduced that Korach was punished because of Moshe’s request. They reasoned that they were spared because Moshe did not know of their secret support of the rebellion and thus did not pray for their demise. In the morning, when they saw that no one, but Korach, was punished they accused Moshe of praying for Korach’s death. Rather than appreciate the efforts of their loyal advocate in saving them, (read Tuesday’s insert) they added insult to injury, when accused him of wrongdoing. Nevertheless Moshe did not grow angry with them. On the contrary, he sent Aharon to save them through the offering of incense. Ksav Sofer

Thursday: Revealing Inner Truths

G-d instructed Moshe to place thirteen staffs in the Holy Ark, one for each tribe. The staff that would blossom would be revealed as the one of Divine choice. When the staff of Levi blossomed the nation knew that Aharon was Divinely appointed to the position of High Priest. Why was this specific method chosen to demonstrate G-d’s choice?

The miracle of the staffs demonstrated that G-d judges our inner character rather than our surface appearance. The staffs were all lifeless and dry on the surface, yet one of them pulsed with inner life and only G-d could know which one it was. In a similar sense, Aharon and the tribe of Levi appeared, on the surface, like any other tribe, but G-d knew them to be special within. Kli Yakar

Friday: The Divine Ingredient

The Priests did not inherit a share in the land of Israel. Rather the Torah mandated that the priests be supported though the offerings that the Israelites extended to them. No endeavor can be successful without G-d’s blessing. G-d endows our efforts with success and allows us to enjoy His blessing, but He reserves some of His largess to us for Himself. He gifted His portion of our success to the priests. This is the meaning of G-d’s declaration to Aharon, “I am your portion and your inheritance within the children of Israel.” Within the success of each Israelite there is a portion that belongs to G-d and that is the portion that He extended to the priests. Or Hachayim

Shabbat: The Poor Man’s Charity

The Levites, who were themselves recipients of the Israelite’s offerings, were also required to donate to the priests. Though their donations were naturally smaller than those of the Israelites, the Torah proclaims that in G-d’s eyes both offerings were equally precious. This teaches us that every Jew, even the impoverished, must offer charity to those who have less. If we can afford to part with even one dollar, we are required to gift that dollar to the poor. Such gifts are naturally meager compared to gifts given by the wealthy and one wonders how much good one dollar could accomplish. Yet we are assured that in G-d’s eyes, the meagre gift of the poor is equal to the generous gifts of the wealthy. Taam Vodaas

Edited by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort, Director of Chabad at La Costa.