Commentary on Korach

12 Jun

Just got saddled with temporarily doing the parshah commentary in my shul’s weekly bulletin, so I figured I’d repost it here.  Not off to a good start, though, as I just realized I forgot to post last week’s:


Throughout the Biblical narrative the Israelites seem very prone to losing their faith in God.  Just five days after Pharaoh tells them to leave Egypt, the vast majority of them lose their faith in God.  God responds by splitting the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to cross on dry land and drowning the might Egyptian army when it tries to follow.  A mere three days after that, and they have already lost their faith again.   Less than three months later, less than forty days after the Revelation at Sinai, they build the Golden Calf.  In last week’s parshah, they doubt God’s ability to help them conquer the Promised Land. Throughout all of these instances, one thing has remained constant: Moses’ faith in God.


In this week’s parshah, however, Moses seems to lose his faith in God’s divine will.   Korach foments a rebellion, challenging the leadership of God’s appointed spokesmen, Moses and Aaron.  A contest is set up between them.  Korach and his followers will all offer incense to G-d, and Moses and Aaron will do the same.  God will then send them a sign to show whose offering God accepts, and that person will be the leader of the community.


That night, Moses prays to God, saying, “Pay no regard to their oblation.  I have not taken the donkey of any one of them, nor have I wronged any one of them (Num 16:15).”  Surely if Moses were the man of perfect faith he seems to be throughout the rest of the Torah, from the time that he accepts his mission until the day of his death, he would have faith that whoever God would choose the next day, whether it was him, Aaron, Korach, or someone else entirely, would be God’s appointed leader.  If God decides that it is time for a change in leadership, shouldn’t someone with such great faith in God accept that?


The truth is that even Moses, whom the Torah describes upon his death as having as close of a relationship to God as any human ever can, is still human.  We are all flawed.  The important thing is to work on our flaws; to not let them get in the way of achieving the most we can achieve, just as Moses did.  Never again did Moses’ faith in God waver, even until the day of his death.


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