-
Arachim Branches Worldwide Arachim Branches Worldwide
Donate About Us Your Questions Events Pictures Articles Video and Audio Home
Home Articles Weekly Parasha Bamidbar Korach and the Fight for Equality
Articles on subject
Fair and Unfair in Judaism
Arachim
Spiritual Amputation
Arachim
Historys First Anti-Torah Propaganda
Arachim
Korach and the Fight for Equality
Arachim
When Jealousy is in the Drivers Seat
Arachim
More Articles
Korach and the Fight for Equality
Arachim

Korach and the Fight for Equality

Adapted from Parasha UPishra by Rabbi Moshe Grylak

Translated and Adapted by Braha Bender

 

Korach, who had lived through Egypt, seen the ten plagues, walked across the split Red Sea, and stood at Sinai to receive the Torah, started a mutiny against Moshe (Moses). Who was this lunatic?

Believe it or not, tradition states that Korach was one of the gedoley hador, one of the greatest Torah luminaries of his generation. Korach had been a tzaddik, a righteous man, even according to the criteria of the Torah that later found his final acts so wanting.

You see, the leader of the rebellion against Moshe and Aharon had genuinely convinced himself that he was serving his nation. Values like equality and justice were his battle-cry against a leadership that he claimed had distanced themselves from the people. His slogan? For the entire assembly all of them are holy and Hashem is among them; why do you exalt yourselves? (Numbers-Bamidbar 16:3)

Korach and his minions did not doubt the justness of their path. So confident were they of their own righteousness that even a test of life and death didnt faze them. They agreed without a moment of hesitance. The test would prove the answer to a simple question: did Moshe and Aharon (Aaron) elect themselves to leadership, or did their authority come from the Almighty?

Korachs group knew exactly what awaited them was their accusation against Moshe and Aharon to be proven wrong. The test would be whether the Almighty accepted the incense brought from their own hands just as He received the incense brought by Moshe and Aharon. Failure would classify their rebellion as mutiny and had certain divine consequences.

Nonetheless, Korach and his men were ready to risk it all. So they took each man his fire-pan and they placed fire on them and put incense on them; and they stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting with Moshe and Aharon. (ibid 18)

The end is known.

Korach and his entire family were swallowed up by the earth. And the rest of his sordid party? A flame came forthand consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense. (ibid 35)They were burned alive.

But a look into the midrashic commentaries on this event reveals that this story isnt describing some crazy gang that lived outside the law and clashed with normative society. Its talking about some of the finest people in the nation. People who had a goal. People who purportedly believed in their values and were willing to stick by themto the bitter end.

But similar to the spies in Parashas Shelach, it was the core that was rotten. Despite the proud external trappings, in infinitesimal virus living in Korachs heart proved to be his downfall and the downfall of all those who followed him. Korach, allowing a poor character trait to go unchecked, found it becoming the dominant motivation in his personality. Linked eternally with the bitterness of mutiny, quarrel, and rebellion, Korachs name has gone down in history but not the way he had hoped.

What happened to the man the Torah admits had been a mighty tzaddik and scholar? What human weakness tripped him over the abyss of his personal annihilation?

These questions pave our path to an uncomfortably familiar place. It seems that Korachs fiery idealism began with the familiar human trait of envy. Simple envy, a minimal mar upon the sterling character of a man so important and honorable. Korach wasnt even aware of it. It didnt affect his everyday life until the moment that Elitzaphan ben Uziel became the divinely appointed leader of the tribe of Levi (as Rashi described in the name of the Midrash).

The moment that took place, envy sprang into action. It awakened to life and began dictating the course of Korachs thoughts and behaviors. Envy stole his inner peace, wreaked terror on his sense of personal freedom, and bullied him into a terrible corner. Would Korach fight back? Instead Korach adopted a victim mentality: he had been slighted and, with feelings so wrong, how could it be right?

The position he felt to be unjustly wrested away from him filled him with envy. It didnt take long to donkey him into belligerence, which was just a quick hop, skip, and a jump away from criticism and accusation. Mutiny wasnt far behind.

It isnt hard to see how belligerence and complaint can morph into an ideology given half the chance. Self-appointed victims can easily begin to believe in the purity of their own intentions. The rumblings of rebellious voices began to reach Moshe as the group drew itself together to oppose him.

And all because of a small leadership position that Korach didnt receive. A position that not so long ago had not even interested him was now the cancerous secret behind an entire social movement.

This is the powerful message Parashas Korach is trying to get across to us. Its a warning, a cautionary tale against the snow-ball effects and consequences of simply envy. It led Korach to destruction. It is said in Pirkey Avos to remove a man from the world. It blinds the eyes of its followers and gladly signs their final decree.

Since then and to this day.


No comments were received this moment
print
send to a Friend
add comment
Hot Topics - articles
Sabbath
Family Relationships
Tefillin
Child Education
Holidays
Basics of Judaism
Life and After Life
Wit & Wisdom for Life
Jewish Perspectives
Success Stories
Torah Giants
Weekly Parasha
The Daily Tip
Mysticism and Kaballa
Science and Judaism
Prayer
Developing Your Personality
Reasons Behind the Mitzvos
Between Israel and the Nations
Faith and Trust
Outlook and Belief
Arachim Activities
Donate |  About Us |  Contact |  Your Questions |  Events |  Pictures |  Articles |  Video and Audio |  Home |  Main Menu:  
General Questions |  Arachim Activities |  Outlook and Belief |  Sabbath and Holidays |  Faith and Trust |  Between Israel and the Nations |  Reasons Behind the Mitzvos |  Developing Your Personality |  Prayer |  Science and Judaism |  Mysticism and Kaballa |  The Daily Tip |  Weekly Parasha |  Torah Giants |  Success Stories |  Jewish Perspectives |  Wit & Wisdom for Life |  Life and After Life |  Basics of Judaism |  Holidays |  Child Education |  Tefillin |  Family Relationships |  Sabbath |  Pirkei Avot |  Subjects:  
RSS |  More: