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Amid Israel’s war in Gaza, there is talk of drafting yeshivah students into the army to bolster its ranks. On Shavuot, we celebrate the anniversary of receiving the Torah, so I want to write about the role of Torah in war. The Torah is not just a dusty old book …

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Home » Korach

Korach: Losing on Both Ends

Submitted by on June 18, 2006 – 6:06 amNo Comment | 2,249 views

Korach Had His Reasons

In this week’s Parsha we read about the infamous Korach. Korach was smart, rich, and powerful. He was also a rebel. Worst than a rebel he was a jealous rebel. His rebellion was nearly successful and G-d found it necessary to stamp out his rebellion in the most remarkable fashion; Korach and his followers were literally swallowed alive in a sudden earthquake.
Our sages note that Korach was to be the ancestor of the great prophet Shmuel. Korach knew that his progeny Shmuel would be greater in piety and spirit than Moses and Aaron combined. In light of his illustrious progeny Korach thought he was powerful enough to challenge Moses and Aaron. He was convinced that his life would be spared, that he was somehow invincible.
As the story unfolded it became painfully obvious that Korach was wrong. Why did his progeny not stand by him in good stead? Why did the merit not protect him? The Panim Yafos explained that once the merit became the reason for his sin, i.e. the justification for his rebellion, it lost the power to protect him.

And So Do We

We often find ourselves in similar predicaments. For example, we make a donation to the UJA and then resent the expectation that we continue to support our local Synagogue. We wash the dishes at home and are irritated that we are still expected to take out the trash. We do the shopping for our parents and resent that we are asked to follow up with the laundry. We wonder why our past merits are not enough to save us from future obligations?
Perhaps it is because we have transformed those merits into our reason for avoiding further obligation. When we use one mitzvah as an excuse to avoid another we deny ourselves credit for the mitzvah avoided as well as the one we performed!
Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!

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