From The Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat June 11, 2021/1 Tammuz 5781
Torah: Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32) Haftarah :Rosh CHodesh Tammuz (Isaiah 66)
Korach’s challenges to Moses still have many rabbis pondering this complex story. Drash on Korach’s motives, were they for goodness and proper, can someone actually question Moses’ authority, and were there miss truths and lies told to the Israelites? The Torah, the Talmud and Pirke Avot give many answers and even more questions.
Talmud (B. Sanhedrin 110a) recorded the story of Rabbah Bar Hannah. Rabbi Ben Hannah was traveling through the desert, an Arab (Islam did not exist in ancient times) showed him the place where Korach and his companions had been engulfed. There in the ground was a crack and Rabbi Ben Hannah put his ear to hear if there were any sounds. He heard voices cry, “Moses and his Torah are true, and we are all liars.” They rebelled against proper authority due to their own quest for power and they lied about the fact that G-d Himself had given Moses authority in order to overthrow him. So… Korach’s sins were lying and rebellion for the purpose of personal gains.
Scholar Martin Buber wrote in one of his books about the crime of Korach. He compared Korach and his group to the Nazi brown shirts who were “leopards” and “werewovlves” (pp.186-190) in that they prefer chaos to order. This comes not just from a desire for power, but from an assertion that we are already holy and therefore can totally abandon the law. Their anarchy is motivated by a conviction that the eschatological age of living by the spirit is a reality and can be had without legal restraints. Korach’s crime is that he broke the bonds of the law in trying to achieve an ideal rather than interpreting the law and having the Divine spirit so the people would be able to live with.
Once again our ancestors are still traveling through the desert. They recently witnessed the Ten Plagues, the Wall of Fire, The Sea Parting, the Drowning of the Egyptians, and Receiving of the “The Ten Commandments and The Torah” at Mount Sinai all events are from G-d in order for us to obtain FREEDOM! Korach and his group also witnessed the death of Aaron’s sons for usurping and disrespecting their elders (their father the Kohain HaGadol/High Priest of The Temple), and yet Korach believed he could usurp Moses’ Leadership.
Today, just as throughout the millennium people have tendencies to be arrogant, and lack compassion for others at times. We are continually seeing hateful groups and individuals hurting people because they are Jewish, or Asian or because of their faith or skin pigment. This lack of respect for human beings is horrific behaviour that should never be ignored or tolerated. One must speak out against these evil actions and vile rhetoric.
Never Be Silent! Never Forget!
Our Torah is Holy, and the Torah gives us guidance and enlightens our lives.
While G-d gave human beings the freedom to make their own choices, people sometimes do not choose the righteous path. Is it because people were not taught in their homes by their parents? Is it possible they did not learn well during their school years? Perhaps, it is the people that they associate with that fill them with erroneous ideas and hate toward other people. Even today, we need to be on guard against those who would use their power through spewing lies and forceful ways. Jewish Law guides us to become “the kingdom of priests and holy people.” G-d wants us to strive for goodness, to be dugmahot/role models for others to emulate.
May our Sabbath bring us health, happiness and peace. See you on Zoom!
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder
Holocaust Survivor Ben Lesser will be giving a lecture, “ From Nazi Nightmare To American Dream” with a luncheon. Even though it is on the Sabbath it is important to hear a survivor of the Holocaust, since there are few left.
Next Saturday, June 19th at the Abbey Inn, St. George, Utah
Cost for lecture and lunch will be $20.00
Time:11:30 am – 2:30pm. Contact: Lesa Sanberg at 435-229-1672