|Questions and Concepts for Parsha Korach
(Numbers 16:1 - 18:32)
- The beginning of the Parsha shows that Korach had a
distinguished lineage: "And Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehas, the son
of Levi ..." (Numbers 16:1) It is taught that Korach prophetically saw that
great men would descend from him one day. (i.e., the prophet Samuel is a descendant of
Korach.) How may this view of greatness before and after him affected Korachs
perception of his own "greatness" and subsequent actions? What was missing in
Korach that was present in others who did achieve spiritual greatness?
- Korach persuaded a lot of people to follow him in his rebellion. Most of
these were from the Tribe of Reuben, who lived in the camp next to Korach. What might this
tell us about staying close to people who have the right values and away from those who
- Contrast the humility of Moses, who in the midst of a rebellion, asked to
meet with Datan and Aviram in order to make peace, with their response and that of Korach.
Moses, considered the humblest of men, was accused by the rebels of being
"haughty." They were punished by the earth swallowing them up alive. How can
this punishment by God be considered "measure for measure?"
- All character traits have a positive and negative aspect. Even jealousy
can be used appropriately in that one can look at someone elses accomplishments and
strive to do as well. How can the desire of the rebels in this Parsha be viewed as a
- Korach made a statement that is essentially true when he claimed,
"The entire congregation is holy
" (Numbers 16:3) Were all the Jewish
people at the highest level of holiness expected of them?
- Several Parshas back, Miriam was punished for speaking evil ("lashan
hara") against Moses. In last weeks Parsha, the spies spoke evil against the land.
How might the actions of Korach and his men be seen as "lashan hara" against
Aaron and the priesthood?
- Korach and the rebels received a very terrible punishment. How does this
reflect the gravity of their sin of causing division? How does this relate to the unity of
creation and of God? The name "Korach" itself means a bald spot. How does this
reflect the idea of division?
- Consider this concept:
God warned Moshe and Aaron, "Separate yourselves from this assembly and I
will destroy them in an instant!" (Numbers 16:20) Similarly, at the time of
the last of the ten plagues against Egypt, God had the Hebrews mark their doors so that
the angel of death would not strike them. In both cases, why was this necessary? Does not
God have the capability of "hitting his targets?" (i.e., as He did with the sons
of Aaron.) There are differing levels of judgment from God. When "unmitigated
judgment" is released, the forces of evil are allowed to participate and they do not
restrain themselves in the same fashion as God does when His "restricts" His
judgment. (Compare to the judgments found in the book of Revelation and how those
with the "mark of God" upon their heads are protected.) Compare the instances of
severe punishment from God with the sin of causing division.
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