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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Korach, Taking Advantage of Moshe's Weakness, Torah Portion of the Week

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week is Korach.  The story of Korach and his rebellion against Moses and Aaron is another stage in the downward spiral of the Jewish People in the first year after being rescued from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt.

From the Chabad site:
Korach incites a mutiny challenging Moses’ leadership and the granting of the kehunah (priesthood) to Aaron. He is accompanied by Moses’ inveterate foes, Dathan and Abiram. Joining them are 250 distinguished members of the community, who offer the sacrosanct ketoret (incense) to prove their worthiness for the priesthood. The earth opens up and swallows the mutineers, and a fire consumes the ketoret-offerers.
This year I, davka, studied the first part of במדבר Bamidbar Numbers (In the wilderness/desert) in Matan with Atara Snowbell.  We didn't get to Korach this year, but we'll study it next year, G-d willing.  It's too bad that we didn't manage to study Korach this year, because I see it as totally connected to the a topic from Bamidbar that we did study.  That is when Moses asked G-d for help in governing/controlling the people.  In response G-d appointed seventy eleders to assist Moshe.  In actuality there were seventy-two included Eldad and Medad who prophesied*  in the camp/among the people.
Chapter 11 בְּמִדְבַּר
י וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה אֶת-הָעָם, בֹּכֶה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָיו--אִישׁ, לְפֶתַח אָהֳלוֹ; וַיִּחַר-אַף יְהוָה מְאֹד, וּבְעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה רָע. 10 And Moses heard the people weeping, family by family, every man at the door of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; and Moses was displeased.
יא וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוָה, לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָ לְעַבְדֶּךָ, וְלָמָּה לֹא-מָצָתִי חֵן, בְּעֵינֶיךָ: לָשׂוּם, אֶת-מַשָּׂא כָּל-הָעָם הַזֶּה--עָלָי. 11 And Moses said unto the LORD: 'Wherefore hast Thou dealt ill with Thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in Thy sight, that Thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
יב הֶאָנֹכִי הָרִיתִי, אֵת כָּל-הָעָם הַזֶּה--אִם-אָנֹכִי, יְלִדְתִּיהוּ: כִּי-תֹאמַר אֵלַי שָׂאֵהוּ בְחֵיקֶךָ, כַּאֲשֶׁר יִשָּׂא הָאֹמֵן אֶת-הַיֹּנֵק, עַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתָיו. 12 Have I conceived all this people? have I brought them forth, that Thou shouldest say unto me: Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing-father carrieth the sucking child, unto the land which Thou didst swear unto their fathers?
יג מֵאַיִן לִי בָּשָׂר, לָתֵת לְכָל-הָעָם הַזֶּה: כִּי-יִבְכּוּ עָלַי לֵאמֹר, תְּנָה-לָּנוּ בָשָׂר וְנֹאכֵלָה. 13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they trouble me with their weeping, saying: Give us flesh, that we may eat.
יד לֹא-אוּכַל אָנֹכִי לְבַדִּי, לָשֵׂאת אֶת-כָּל-הָעָם הַזֶּה: כִּי כָבֵד, מִמֶּנִּי. 14 I am not able to bear all this people myself alone, because it is too heavy for me.

טו וְאִם-כָּכָה אַתְּ-עֹשֶׂה לִּי, הָרְגֵנִי נָא הָרֹג--אִם-מָצָאתִי חֵן, בְּעֵינֶיךָ; וְאַל-אֶרְאֶה, בְּרָעָתִי. {פ} 15 And if Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray Thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in Thy sight; and let me not look upon my wretchedness.' {P}
And after that G-d appointed the seventy elders. We don't know exact time in the Bible, but the fact that the Bible was written in the order it was written was to make it clear that Korach took advantage of Moses's weakness.  
Numbers Chapter 16 בְּמִדְבַּר
א וַיִּקַּח קֹרַח, בֶּן-יִצְהָר בֶּן-קְהָת בֶּן-לֵוִי; וְדָתָן וַאֲבִירָם בְּנֵי אֱלִיאָב, וְאוֹן בֶּן-פֶּלֶת--בְּנֵי רְאוּבֵן. 1 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men;
ב וַיָּקֻמוּ לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה, וַאֲנָשִׁים מִבְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם, נְשִׂיאֵי עֵדָה קְרִאֵי מוֹעֵד, אַנְשֵׁי-שֵׁם. 2 and they rose up in face of Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty men; they were princes of the congregation, the elect men of the assembly, men of renown;
ג וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל-מֹשֶׁה וְעַל-אַהֲרֹן, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם רַב-לָכֶם--כִּי כָל-הָעֵדָה כֻּלָּם קְדֹשִׁים, וּבְתוֹכָם יְהוָה; וּמַדּוּעַ תִּתְנַשְּׂאוּ, עַל-קְהַל יְהוָה. 3 and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them: 'Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'
ד וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה, וַיִּפֹּל עַל-פָּנָיו. 4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.
Korach was an opportunist. A rebel/troublemaker like Korach wouldn't try to take over or shake things ups if he didn't think he had a chance to succeed.  It's also interesting that he had a delegation with him from all the tribes, davka, of the "...princes of the congregation, the elect men of the assembly, men of renown."  Korach was well prepared.  It's obvious that he had been working on the rebellion for a while.

When you have weak "leaders" without confidence and vision, there's always more of a chance that the opposition will strengthen.

Here in Israel we're suffering because of bad, weak leadership.  The State of Israel is being ruled by politicians who don't fully believe in our rights to the Land of Israel.  That's why  the Arabs are launching deadly missiles at us.  Our IDF responses don't bother them.  They accuse us of violence and then laugh with glee at the weak, pathetic responses from our government.  Our security depends on our strength, our ideological strength and determination.  That's how we gained our independence in 1948.  The Jewish population, including new immigrants straight off the boats, were willing to fight for the Land and State of Israel.  They didn't worry about what the world or our enemies thought or felt.  We have lost that determination as a People.  It does still exist in many parts of the country, but it's neither in the government nor the media.

This is Our Land.  The only People with a long history, legal and yes moral rights to be sovereign here are Jews!
*A navi, or as it's translated "prophet" is not one who predicts.  The navi sees things because he's connected/communicating with G-d to give the people or the King messages.  He was a facilitator, not a fortune teller.

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