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Home » Korach

Korach: Misguided, but Passionate

Submitted by on June 18, 2006 – 5:58 amNo Comment | 2,304 views

Brass Pans

Korach led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. They brazenly performed the rite of incense offering, a rite reserved only for the high priest. They were punished, but the brass pans they used in their misguided offering was salvaged. G-d instructed that they be utilized as a covering to the altar. Why would a sinner’s pan be incorporated into the altar of atonement?
Many commentators argue that this would serve as a reminder to the nation to never engage in rebellion again. Yet there must be a deeper dimension, a positive aspect, to this remarkable twist in the tale.

Brass = Resolve

The Shem Mishmuel points out that every metal used in the building of the temple represented a human character trait. Gold is indicative of fear, silver of love and brass of conviction and strength of character. Korach and his men were indeed made of brass, prepared as they were, to sacrifice their life on the altar of conviction.
They backed the wrong horse but they sure knew how to run. Their conviction was laudable though their choice was tragic. G-d instructed that the brass pans be incorporated into the Altar itself though the hot coals within be discarded. This demonstrates that G-d did not approve of the nature of their sacrifice, but appreciated the sacrifice itself.

Resolve, Appropriately Harnessed

The message to the nation was simple. Do not repeat Korach ‘s mistake but do take a lesson from his game plan. Find that strength within yourself, but harness it to the service of G-d.
Korach was given a gift, but he abused it. We need to utilize that very gift in a positive sense. Strength of character can is handy when, by way of example, skeptics and detractors beset us and question our values.
When doubts cross our mind, when questions plague us, conviction sustains us till such time as we discover the answers. When our strength is eroded by temptations and craven delights we rely on our inner reserves till our moment of weakness passes.
In short, when the ego, heart or mind loses enthusiasm, an unshakable faith will carry the day.

The Forty Year Resolve

This Parsha comes on the heels of the story we read last week in which the nation was handed a forty-year sentence to wander the desert. It would take patience and long term commitment to overcome this long and trying period. This strength of character was born out of the ashes of Korach’s tragedy.
Though Korach’s rebellion was ill fated it sparked a fire deep within the Jewish soul. If Korach could feel such conviction then so could we. Buoyed by this conviction the nation resolved to overcome the forty-year sentence and enter the Promised Land.


We too would do well to tear a page out our ancestors’ play book. We too have been wandering for many years and we too await the promise of return. With the conviction of a faith unshaken let us resolve to anticipate the coming redemption speedily in our days, Amen.