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PARSHAT KORACH  

This Shabbat, June 24th and Sunday begins Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. May it bring to us the blessings of Hashem.

During the past several weeks we have learned how Moshe Rabbenu overcame many challenges as Hashem's chosen leader of B'nai Yisroel. Whether it was a Golden Calf, people constantly complaining, or spies returning with a negative report about the Land of Israel; Moshe prevailed each time. This time, in Parshat Korach, Moshe would face one of his worst ordeals. His leadership was threatened by a member of his own family.

Korach was Moshe's first cousin and believed that he was entitled to far greater honor than what he was given. Consumed by jealously, Korach organized a rebellion and attempted to discredit Moshe personally as well as the divinity of the Torah. Pirkei Avot 5:20 mentions this incident as the classic conflict doomed to failure because Korach's motives were not for the sake of Heaven.

Our sages say this event illustrates the powerful influence a wife can have on her husband's behavior. Korach's wife encouraged his actions which ultimately led to his destruction. Another fellow, Ohn Ben Peles, was saved by his wife who tactfully, yet assertively talked him out of participating in the rebellion. Proverbs teaches about the wise woman who builds her house and the foolish one who tears it down with her own hands.

Our Parsha begins with the words "Vayekach Korach" and Korach took, Bamidbar 16:1. A careful reading of this verse doesn't reveal exactly what it was that Korach took. Our sages offer possibilities, including: he took men with him, or he took himself out of the community (to gain power). Perhaps, it was just that he took.

A six year old was once at a birthday party when the hostess placed a bowl of candy on the table. Immediately, the older children grabbed all the candy before the child could even reach the bowl. Seeing his sad face, the hostess brought out more goodies and put them in his plate. "Thanks for being a gentleman and not grabbing," she said. Then she turned to the older children and said, "You may have been entitled to some of the candy but you should have waited to be served. It's not proper to take."

My Rebbe, Reb Aleph Bais says that perhaps the problem with Korach was that "he took." One does not take the leadership of Hashem's Chosen People. Moshe wasn't the leader and Aharon wasn't Kohain Gadol through political savvy or rebellion. Hashem gave them their honors. Korach, just wanted to take.

Kol Tov!  Our best to you...it's all good. Shabbat Shalom, CM

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The story of Korach demonstrates how negative traits such as jealousy, anger, and hatred can be self destructive. Can these emotions be used for good?

 


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