Parshat Korach: More Human Than We Like to Admit

Rabbi Tzuri and Hannah Hason, Beren-Amiel shlichim at Northwest Yeshiva High School

%D7%9E%D7%A9%D7%A4%D7%97%D7%AA %D7%97%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%9F 23Although I’m always shocked by the actions of Korach, the event is just one in a fairly hefty list of complaints that Bnei Yisrael had been bringing against Moshe. And HaShem had continued to punish them. There didn’t seem to be a happy, uplifting mood in the camp.

Korach recruits Datan and Aviram to join him in the rebellion as they already had a grudge against Moshe from Mitzrayim.  They were the two Jews who were fighting when Moshe tried to stop them. They replied that they knew he had killed the Egyptian and would he kill them also?  Korach went out of his way to find others who had something against Moshe.

Korach felt that the time was ripe to bring his rebellion. But what was he actually rebelling against? Rashi, taking from Midrash Tanchuma, says that he separated himself to start a rebellion because Moshe appointed Ahron to be the High Priest. Korach thinks that Ahron’s placements was his own choice and not HaShem’s. How could Moseh and Ahron be more holy than the others?  In 16:3, Rashi (Midrash Tanchuma) states that Korach’s reasoning was that everyone was equally holy because everyone was at Har Sinai and received the Torah.

But we learn what really was the last straw for Korach wasn’t Ahron’s position, but was when Eliziphan was appointed to a higher position than he was. This was a cousin who was from the younger brother than his own father. This appointment just simply wasn’t fair. Something had to be done. Korach couldn’t live with the disgrace. He was wealthy, wise, capable, how was he not chosen?

We know how the story goes. HaShem demands that Ahron and the rebels each bring a fire pan with incense and HaShem makes his choice clear in front of the whole congregation of Israel. The rebels are swallowed up into the ground and perish. Ahron is clearly HaShem’s choice for who is supposed to be the Kohen Gadol.

It’s possible that Korach had a strong argument. It’s possible that he could have been right. But it’s clear that his approach and his actions were not. HaShem makes this very clear. Whether Korach was overtaken with jealousy or truly felt that there was an injustice that was done, he didn’t handle the situation in a way that was appropriate for the time and setting. He couldn’t see that he still had so much to give by working in the Mishkan and being a Levi. He simply couldn’t handle it even though he was in a higher position than most of B’nei Yisrael.

Like Korach, there will always be situations where we think we know best or where we think we didn’t receive the position that we were better suited for. Maybe we didn’t get the recognition that we deserved. Unfortunately, this is part of life.  Unlike Korach’s approach, when something like this happens in real life, I urge us all to breathe, relax, and take a step back. We are all already doing so much good for our communities for the Jews that we are teaching, interacting with, inspiring. We can’t let jealousy and/or hurt from disappointment overtake us and let that control our actions.  We must learn from Korach’s failure that despite our personal beliefs and feelings, we still have so much to give and to serve HaShem and the Jewish people. We are blessed to be doing an amazing shelichut and that’s possibly exactly where HaShem wants us right now.

Northwest Yeshiva High School is the only modern orthodox high school in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and is located in Seattle, Washington. The school prides itself in its Judaic and academic excellence. The school services both Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities. Seattle is home to the special Turkish and Rhodes Sephardi communities that are like none other in the world.


Latest posts

Join our Mailing List

Get weekly divrei Torah, news, and updates directly in your inbox from Ohr Torah Stone.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
.pf-primary-img{display:none !important;}