Bamidbar / Num. 16:1 – 18:32
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 11:14 – 12:22
Brit Hadashah: Matittiyahu / Mt. 26:14-24
Korach means “shaved.”
Summary of Parsha Korach
Korach induces a riot by challenging Moshe’s leadership and handing over the Kehunah / priesthood to Aharon.
Two enemies of Moshe join the riot; Dathan, Aviram, and 250 distinguished members of the community, offering the holy ketoret / incense, to prove that they are worthy of the priesthood.
The earth opens and swallows the rebels, while a fire consumes the offerings of ketoret.
A subsequent plague is stopped by Aharon’s offering of ketoret.
His rod miraculously blooms with almonds to prove that his designation as High Priest is of Divine origin.
HaShem indicates the laws of trumah / offerings, of each harvest of grain, wine, and olive oil.
And our Parsha culminates by detailing that all the firstborn of sheep and cattle, along with other specific gifts are given to the Kohanim / Levitical priests.
This is how our Parashat Shavua / weekly portion begins: Bamidbar / Num. 16:1
וַיִּקַּח קֹרַח בֶּן־יִצְהָר בֶּן־קְהָת בֶּן־לֵוִי וְדָתָן וַאֲבִירָם בְּנֵי אֱלִיאָב וְאֹון בֶּן־פֶּלֶת בְּנֵי רְאוּבֵֽן׃
Vayikach Korach ben-Yitshar ben-Kehat ben-Levi veDatan va’Aviram beney Eli’av ve’On ben-Pelet beney Re’uven.
“He took Korach, the son of Yitzar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Aviram, the sons of Aliav, and On, the son of Pelet, who were from the tribe of Reuben.
1st Comment Bamidbar / Num. 16:1
Can envy lead to rebellion?
Korach had not been appointed chief of the Kehatites, but Elitzphany, a younger cousin.
What do older siblings, and older cousins, feel when the younger one is appointed to be their boss?
Is this family relationship the reason why it led to Korach’s attitude of envy or rebellion?
What happened to Yishmael when Yitzhak, his little half-brother was appointed bearer of the promises?
What happened to Esau when his younger brother got the birthright and blessing in his place?
They had zeal and bitterness.
That jealousy and envy was transmitted to their descendants over the generations, and that is the cause of the adverse attitudes between Arabs and Jews, between Islam and Judaism, and between Romans and Jews, between Christianity and Judaism.
Yishmael’s descendants adapted a religion that cultivates hatred against the Jew.
The same thing had happened with Christianity, a religion was formed based on not wanting to be like the Jews.
Esau’s descendants formed the Roman Empire, and hatred against the Jew can be found within the Roman system.
Roman religion has a deep root of hatred against Jews.
The origin of that root comes from a family situation.
The cradle for Korach’s rebellion was his family situation, where his younger cousin was elected chief over him and where he was not appointed to hold an important position beyond the normal Levitical ministry.
How important it is to bring envy out of our hearts!
Someone will think that HaShem should have given Korach an important position so that he would not get angry and come to this rebellion.
But that’s not how it works in the Kingdom.
The problem is not HaShem but envy and lack of humility in man.
The solution is not to give an ambitious man a position of responsibility but to humble himself and learn to submit to the leaders That HaShem has placed upon him.
That was the medicine that HaShem was giving Korach, but he did not want to take it and deal with sin in his soul but developed his rebellion until he reached these heights.
We have two contrary examples that show that there was no envy when the younger brother was appointed to a higher position.
Moses and Aharon;
Efrayim and Menashe.
What greatness there was in Yosef, because he managed to instill the Torah in his two eldest sons so that they would not have the same envy and quarrels that he himself had experienced with his brothers!
Yosef was able to break that generational curse and fight and eradicate from his own family all kinds of envy.
In the same way the descendants of Korach managed to break the family curse and become authors of several Psalms in the Scriptures.
They were Levites, who had important positions.
The prophet Sh’muel was a descendant of Korach (1 Chron. 6:33-38).
He who is content and faithful in the position and the call that Adonai has given him, will receive a great reward.
If we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of HaShem, He exalts us in due time, as written in 1 Peter 5:5-6:
“Likewise, you the youngest, be subject to the elders; and all, put on humility in your mutual treatment, for ADONAI RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Humble yourselves, then, under the mighty hand of HaShem, that He may exalt you in due time.”
Korach revealed himself and lost everything, he was swallowed up by the earth along with those who had followed him in his rebellious spirit.
But a few of his descendants managed to save their lives, through teshuvah/repentance.
HaShem who is good, free us from all envy and rebellion.
Shabát Shalom Mishpojah!