Divrei HaRav

Korach / קרח

Korach / קרח
Moshe said to the B’nei Levi “isn’t it enough that Hashem has distinguished you as Leviim, that you still seek the Kehuna.” The Chasam Sofer explains this as follows. The Jewish people are referred to as stubborn and courageous. In fact the Chazal attribute to this, the fact that the Torah was given to them. It is not easy to set ourselves off from the rest of the world in the way we eat, the way we walk and talk and the way we dress. This requires a great amount of fortitude. Then even among ourselves the Leviim and Kohanim have extra requirements and restrictions. All of this, of course, makes for a difficult trial in life. This, then, is what Moshe said to them, “isn’t the trial of being a Levi enough that you should seek more limitations as Kohanim.

“And you and Aaron should take a fire pan (of Ketores)” The possuk says each one his own pan. What is the significance of this? The Meshech Chochma explains: The Chazal explain that the original vessels of the Mishkon were annointed in order to be placed into service in the Mishkon, afterwards the service alone created the Kedusha of the vessel. Therefore Moshe specifically directed Aaron to not take the pan which was already consecrated but rather his own, to demonstrate that only his service was the legitimate one and would bring the Kedusah to the vessel.

The “Shaloh” points out the various lessons in keeping peace and not allowing arguments.
a) All the greatness of Korach and his future lineage did not help him or save him when he became involved in “machlokos”, argument. He also was one of those who carried the Ark.
b) Aaron never spoke one word and refused to feed into the argument. The less one speaks about “machlokos” the less will result from it.
c) Moshe completely humbled himself and personally went to Doson and Avirom to stem the tide of the heated argument. How great is the obligation to keep peace.

Moshe Rabenu referred to the opening of the earth to swallow Korach and his people. Rashi points out the fact that this was created from the six days of creation. In Pirke Avos ch. 5 this is documented among other future miracles that were created and programmed into the world at twilight Friday evening of the creation. R’ Yaakov ‘z’l explains as follows. The world was created with such order and perfection that one could almost believe there is no creator. For this reason when HaShem was about to give the world into the hands of mankind, He specifically arranged for certain unnatural occurrences to allay the suspicions of those who believe it operates on its own. Even the “pliers, the original ones which created the second pair” which is listed at the end is the general statement of the fact that the original “everything” was by the hands of HaShem. This then is what Moshe wanted to teach the people that “all is brought about by HaShem”.

The Parsha follows the thread of the story of the battle over Kehuna. First Korach and his community are destroyed. The people still complain and a plague ensues. Still not satisfied Aaron is commanded to take his staff among the other staffs and his blossoms forth. Certainly this has been a trying ordeal for Aaron and he probably would rather just quietly assume his position. However, at this point, we observe an interesting lesson in life. HaShem announces to all, with great joy (Rashi) the many gifts that a Kohain, that Aaron will receive. Once the issue has been laid to rest, credit should been given to the rightful party.

The possuk says, “those who died in the plague were 14,700 besides those who died because of Korach". Since they complained a second time the plague took effect. The possuk says, “separate them from the people”. R’ Yehoshua Leib z’l’ learns this to be a reference to the removal of the people who have sinned. The process would be similar to terumah. Now terumah in a larger amount would be 1/40. If the people were 603,550 then 1/40 would be 15,088. We see 14,700 died. But the possuk says “besides those who died with Korach”. That would be another 250 men plus Korach, Doson and Avirom, which equals 14,953. This plus 135 would be 1/40. The number 135 are equal in numerical value to “kahal”. Now notice before it used the word “edah” but at the end it says, “he ran into the ‘kahal’”, this being the last 135 in danger.

The Chofetz Chaim explains the degrading nature of jealousy. It is well known that it “eats away” at a person. However, even with this terrible trait there are two strains of it. One could be jealous of what the other has, because he would also enjoy having it. But even worse than that is the individual, who does not begrudge the other person to have wealth, honor, etc. Korach projected the latter by claiming Moshe “you have more than you deserve”. This, of course, was the downfall of Korach.

The Steipler ‘z’l points out a major discrepancy in the parsha. The jealousy of Korach stemmed from his desire to be leader over his Levite family and yet he projected a philosophy of equality for all men. “We are all holy”. We see from the Communist Revolution that this is the way of the wicked. They have their own agenda but veil it in a humanistic plea for the people. Interestingly enough, the wife of On ben Peles was not tricked and prevented her husband from joining them fully.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis