Blog Korach Tammuz 3 5779 בלוג קֹרַח, ג’ תמוז תשע”ט
The story of Korach, the cousin of Moshe Rabeinu, shows us the problems that can arise in our families when we do not communicate but instead attack because we have not clarified our issues. Korach was a leader and it seems that he was quite justified in his desire to have the position of High Priest. He had all the qualities that most of the popular charismatic politicians have today. He might have even looked like a better leader than Moshe himself. According to our sages, he was wealthy having held a very high position back in Egypt. In Israel there is a saying, “you are as rich as Korach”. In spite of this, he was expelled from Egypt with the rest because he was an Israelite. Korach was the descendant of Levi who had three sons, Gershom, Kohat, and Merari. Kohat had four children, Amram, Izhar, Chevron and Uzziel. Amram the oldest, was the father of Moshe, the leader and Aaron, the High Priest. This may seem like nepotism to most. Korach was the eldest son of Izhar. The leader of the Kohathites should have been Korach but instead the youngest son of Uzziel, Elizaphan was chosen for that position by the Creator. The role of the firstborn receiving the double inheritance was already understood at that time so why was Korach overlooked?
Datan and Abiram who also took part in the rebellion against Moshe were the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob. The double inheritance in their case was given to the sons of Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The leader chosen to follow after Moshe was Joshua who was from the tribe of Ephraim. At first glance, all these cases seemed to be justified. It was not fair. Finally, 250 men of renown who were also upset, joined this upper-class rebellion against Moshe. But this rebellion was not against man, it was against the Creator. Today the leaders in Israel are so divided that they cannot even form a government. Each sells themselves out for power. The problem is the same today as it was at the time of Moshe. Both the religious and secular parties are turning against the teachings of the Creator.
In the western world today, we almost worship democracy – the government by the people in which the majority rules. It sounds so beautiful however the majority don’t care about morality or justice, they care only about what is popular, what tickles the ear. They utilize the tactics of destroying their enemies by tearing down their image, their character. Korach took the position upon himself of speaking for the rest of Israel, declaring “Isn’t all Israel holy?” which was true. The only way that he could dethrone the true leader, Moshe was to publicly denounce him, to accuse him of taking power and stealing from the people. In the haftarah portion in 1 Samuel 12:3, Samuel cried out the same words as Moshe. “Whose donkey have I taken?” They were replacing the leadership of God with the leadership of a king, a man because we want to be like the other nations.
The truth is that Moshe never wanted to be the leader, it was the Creator who foisted this position upon him as well as bringing Aaron to be his spokesperson. Their position was to serve the people. Their accuser, Korach, on the other hand, wanted to be served. That is demagoguery. Many politicians and religious leaders make promises they can’t fulfill, interested only in power and in lining their own pockets, like Korach. It’s true that Korach and the other men of renown were the ones who rebelled but where were the rest of the people. Who did they follow? It is obvious that they followed these false leaders. Today we see that the majority follows those who offer more whether they can fulfill it or not. When any leaders do the right thing, they are attacked because it is not convenient for demagogues that the population is doing well.
What was the real transgression of Korach and the other leaders? They rebelled against the order set up by the Creator. They thought that they had rights. Who is the only one who knows the kavanah, the intention of the hearts of man? The Creator knew their hearts. They would have set themselves up as gods, as the saviors of the people. Judaism has the notion that we need a savior and instead of looking up at the Creator, we have decided it will be a man who will save us. That is idolatry.
Many people consider democracy to be a panacea, but I wish that we had governments, lead by Godly people who are fearful of the Creator and observant of the Torah. Today we have leaders without Torah, blind leading the blind. They are allowing a minority without morals to impose their values upon the rest of society. They do the opposite of what the Torah is teaching us. Korach’s problem was that he said no to God and yes to man. We need to return to an era when we follow the Creator, not man. Today if we say anything contrary to the values of the day, we are regarded as fanatics, not understanding what love is as if love alone would solve everything. Love is not about being soft and wishy-washy. Love means loyalty, being tough and standing for truth. I am completely against religiosity. Don’t allow others to lead your lives according to their latest whims. Let’s make an effort to research the truth and to stand up for it. The greatest gift that the Creator gave us is the ability to think. We have the responsibility to think for ourselves, to serve others not ourselves, in order to make this world a better place. It is not that Korach didn’t have the right to claim a place for himself; he didn’t accept the authority of the Creator like the rebels of today. The Bore Olam is being kicked out of our lives and made into a laughing stock. Our great teacher Yeshua said that there is no worse blind than he who doesn’t want to see or worse deaf than he who doesn’t want to hear. That is why those who stand for truth are becoming fewer in number. People only want to hear news that tickles the ear instead of doing what is right.