-Argument For the Sake of Heaven : The result is Peace & Love in Above and Below Realm
– Moses and his Torah are true, but Korah’s company are liars
– Be the Camp of Joshua and not to be in the camp of Korah
The Name of the Thirty-Eight reading from the Torah and Korah (korach, קורח) was the name of a prominent Levite. And the first verse of reading, which says, “Now Korah the son of Izhar… ” -Numbers 16:1. This week’s Torah reading tells the story of how Korah led an unsuccessful rebellion against Moses and Aaron. After this incident, G-d confirms Aaron in the Priesthood and Provides the priestly role levitical privileges and responsibilities.
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., Prophet Samuel is a descendant of Korach ).
Summary of this week Parsha studies:
- Korah’s Rebellion Numbers 16 : 1
- Moses summons Dathan and Abiram Numbers 16 : 12
- HaShem Responds and Miraculously Destroys Malcontents Numbers 16: 20
- The Israelite’s protest and a plague breaks out among the Israelite’s Numbers 17: 1
- Moses Intercedes again on behalf of the Israelite’s Numbers 17 : 9
- Confirmation of Aaron’s priesthood: Budding Rod Numbers 17 : 16
- Aaron’s responsibilities reconfirmed Numbers 18: 1
- Gifts to the Kohanim and Tithes to the Levi-ties Numbers 18: 1
Korah – Rebellion: “Korach” means “bald. “Korach is the “Bald Reverend.” The rebellion of Korach, can be described as the “Spirit of Korach,” is the Spirit that comes against two things: The Prophecy of Moses ; The Priesthood of Aaron
Korah…… rose up before Moses -Numbers 16 : 1 – 2 ; Pride and Ambition can easily given way to slander and rebellion.
Yeshua said : “How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. –Matthew 5: 3
Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave! –Matthew 20: 27
Yeshua referring to the idea of the “mighty in the Kingdom,” serving others in humility . And Moses being our best human example, he is said to be the most humble man to ever live as well as the greatest of the prophets until Yeshua’s time.
HaShem curses those who use their mouths to try to destroy godly leadership .
However, these people insult anything they don’t understand; and what they do understand naturally, without thinking, like animals — by these things they are destroyed!
Woe to them, in that they have walked the road of Kayin, they have given themselves over for money to the error of Bil‘am, they have been destroyed in the rebellion of Korach. These men are filthy spots at your festive gatherings meant to foster love; they share your meals without a qualm, while caring only for themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; trees without fruit even in autumn, and doubly dead because they have been uprooted; savage sea-waves heaving forth their shameful deeds like foam; wandering stars for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever. – Jude 1: 10-13
The chief conspirator, however, was Korach, a member of the Kohathite clan who appears to be involved in all four of the rebellious movements.
Midrash rabbah states: Korach argued: My father was one of four brothers; as it says, “And the sons of Kehat:
What moved him to start a quarrel? He was moved to it by the fact that Elitzafan, the son of his father’s brother, was appointed prince over his family, as it says, “The prince of the father’s house of the families of the Kehatites was Elitzafan the son of Uzziel” Numbers 3:30. Korach argued: My father was one of four brothers, as it says, “The sons of Kehat: Amram, and Yitzhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel” (Exodus 4:18. As for Amram the firstborn, his son Aaron attained to greatness, and Moses to royalty. Who then should rightly take the next office? Is it not the next in line? Now I, being the son of Yitzhar, should by right be the leader of the Kehatites. Yet Moses appointed the son of Uzziel! Shall the [son of the] youngest of my father’s brothers be superior to me? Behold, I shall dispute his decision and put to naught all that has been arranged by him . . .
According to Jewish tradition, Korach was accustomed to power in Egypt. The Midrash states that he gained his great wealth by discovering some of the treasures that Joseph had hidden in Egypt which he took for himself.
Reish Lakish says, was “the wealth of Korach” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin ibid). There are “stored treasures that bring evil to their owners” says Kohelet (Ecclesiastes 5:12), that is wealth that brings its owners to boastfulness, chasing after honor and demanding privilege beyond what is due, and wealth like this.
Rabbi Chama son of Rabbi Chanina said: Three treasures did Joseph hide in Egypt: one was discovered by Korach; one by Antoninus the son of Severus; and the third is stored away for the righteous in the world to come. -Midrash
Jewish commentaries on the other hand see Korach and his band as fundamentally evil. In Numbers Rabbah it says: “Korach, like all who rebel with no cause, contradicts himself. First he maintains that Israel needs no leaders, since all Israel is holy and Adonai is among them. Then we discover that Korach and his Levite followers wish to replace Aaron and the Kohanim in the worship at the mishkan.
Korach, “the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi,” incites a rebellion against Moses. He is joined by Dathan and Aviram, and On the son of Peleth, all of the tribe of Reuben. Also participating are 250 “leaders of the community, those regularly summoned to assembly, men of renown.” And they massed upon Moses and Aaron and said to them: “Enough! The entire community is holy, and G-d is amongst them; why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G-d?” And when Moses heard it, he fell on his face. When it becomes clear that Korach and the 250 men are aspiring for the Kehunah (priesthood) themselves, Moses challenges them to offer ketoret to G-d—the most sacred of the Divine services in the Sanctuary, permitted only to a priest, and only under special circumstances.
Aaron, whose appointment as Kohen Gadol (High Priest) they are contesting, will also offer the ketoret. Come morning, and G-d will show who is His, and who is holy… and whom He has chosen will He bring near to Him. Korach and the 250 men accept the challenge. And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense on them, and stood in the door of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron.” Fire and Earth G-d’s anger is aroused, and he says to Moses and Aaron: Separate yourselves from among this congregation, and I shall consume them in a moment!” And they fell upon their faces and said: “O G-d, G-d of the spirits of all flesh! Shall one man sin, and Your wrath be upon the entire community?” Dathan and Aviram had already refused Moses’ summons; now Moses goes to them, in an effort to quell the mutiny.
Dathan and Aviram
They were the ones who forced Moses to flee from Egypt (by informing on him to Pharaoh that he killed an Egyptian overseer—Exodus 2:13–15). They were the ones who hurled harsh words at Moses and Aaron in Egypt . They were the ones who left over from the manna (in defiance of Moses’ instructions and went out to gather the manna on Shabbat . And they joined in Korach’s mutiny. –Torah Sheleimah
And Dathan and Aviram . . . of the tribe of Reuben -Numbers 16:1
From this text the saying is derived: “Woe to the wicked and woe to his neighbor!” It applies to Dathan and Aviram, neighbors of Korach, who both camped to the south side of the Sanctuary, as it is written: “The families of the sons of Kehat were to pitch on the side of the Sanctuary southward” Numbers 3:29; and it says, “On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben” (ibid. 2:10). – Midrash Rabbah; Rashi
….And On the son of Peleth – Numbers 16:1
Said Rav: On the son of Peleth was saved by his wife. She said to him, “What matters it to you? Whether the one remains leader or the other becomes leader, you will be but a follower.” Said he: “But what can I do? I have taken part in their counsel, and they have sworn me to be with them.” . . . She said: “Sit here, and I will save you.” She gave him wine to drink, intoxicated him, and put him to bed within ( the tent) . Then she sat down at the entrance and loosened her hair. Whoever came [to summon him] saw her and retreated.
Meanwhile, Korach’s wife joined in and said to him: “See what Moses has done! He himself has become king; his brother he appointed high priest; his brother’s sons he has made the vice–high priests. If terumah is brought, he decrees: Let it be for the priest. If the tithe is brought, which belongs to you [i.e., to the Levite], he orders: Give a tenth part thereof to the priest. Moreover, he has had your hair cut off (cf. Numbers 8:7) and makes sport of you as though you were dirt . . . for he was jealous of your hair.” Said he to her, “But he has done likewise!” She replied, “Since all the greatness was his, he said also, ‘Let me die with the Philistines’ . . .”
Thus it is written, “A wise woman builds her house” -Proverbs 14:1 – this refers to the wife of On the son of Peleth; “but the foolish woman destroys it with her hands” (ibid.)—this refers to Korach’s wife. -Talmud, Sanhedrin 109b
Gossips and Busy Bodies :
Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. -1 Timothy 5:13-14
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of G-d, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. -2 Timothy 3:1-5
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. -1 Timothy 3:9-11
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.. – Titus 2:2-3
Korach and his confederates state that “All the people are holy.”
“The entire community is holy, and G‑d is amongst them; why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G‑d?” Korach said to them: All heard at Sinai the commandment, “I am the L‑rd your G‑d”! If you alone had heard it while they had not, you could have claimed superiority. But now that they have all heard it, “why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G‑d?”
When Moses heard it, he fell on his face -Numbers 16:4
Moses was thrown into a tremor . . . for this was already their fourth offense. To what can this be compared? To a prince who had offended his father the king, and for whom the king’s friend had effected a reconciliation, once, twice and three times. When the prince offended a fourth time, the king’s friend lost courage, saying to himself: How many times can I trouble the king?
So it was with Moses. When Israel had sinned in connection with the golden calf, “Moses besought G‑d” (Exodus 32:11. When “the people were as murmurers,” then “Moses prayed” Numbers 11:1–2 . In connection with the spies, “Moses said unto G‑d: ‘When Egypt shall hear . . .’” (ibid. 14:13). When the dissension of Korach broke out, he said: How many times can I impose myself on G‑d? So “when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.” -Midrash Rabbah; Rashi
G-d warned Moshe and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this assembly and I will destroy them in an instant!” -Numbers 16:20
The Earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up – Numbers 16:32
According to Pirkei Avot 5:8, the mouth of the earth the swallowed Korach was one of ten things made just before the first Shabbat of creation.
Rabbah bar Bar Chanah said: I was proceeding on my travels, when an Arab said to me, “Come, and I will show you where the men of Korach were swallowed up.” I went and saw two cracks in the earth from which issued smoke. Thereupon he took a piece of clipped wool, soaked it in water, attached it to the point of his spear and passed it over there, and it was singed. Said I to him: “Listen to what you are about to hear.” And I heard them saying thus: “Moses and his Torah are true, and they ( Korach’s company) are liars.” -Talmud, Sanhedrin 110a
Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Chelbo: Even their names flew off all written documents. Rabbi Yossei bar Chanina said: Even a needle of theirs on loan in the hands of another man was swallowed up with them.-Jerusalem Talmud
The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them. . . . And a fire came forth from G‑d and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who offered the ketoret -Numbers 16:32–35
Korach himself was smitten with both afflictions: he was consumed by the fire, and swallowed up by the earth. – Midrash Tanchuma
1 Samuel 11:14-12:22
1 Chronicles 6:31-37
This week’s parasha, Korach, is named after one of the men who led a serious rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Korach gathered 250 leaders of the Israelite community and asserted that all members of the community were holy. Moses responded by telling Korach and his followers to come to the Tent of Meeting the next day in order to offer their fire pans in sacrifice to G-d – in a kind of incense-making contest. G-d would make known who is holy. Moses then went to Datan and Aviram, asking them to accompany him. They refused, implying that he was a corrupt leader.
At the Tent of Meeting, Korach’s two hundred fifty followers prepared their fire pans as Moses had directed, but G-d sent forth a fire which consumed them. Eleazar, Aaron’s son made the now-charred copper fire pans into plating for the altar, a reminder to all who looked at the altar to avoid offering incense to G-d unless they were proper priests.
Now Korach the son of Yitz’char, the son of Kohat, the son of Levi, with Datan and Aviram the sons of Eliav, and On the son of Pelet, sons of R’uven, took men; and they rose up before Moshe with some of the children of Yisra’el, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moshe and Aharon, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and HaShem is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of HaShem?”
So when Moshe heard it, he fell on his face; and he spoke to Korach and all his company, saying, “Tomorrow morning HaShem will show who is His and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him. That one whom He chooses He will cause to come near to Him.” -Numbers 16:1-5
Essence of the Lawless One:
An important insight as to the way that G-d responds to Korach’s rebellion is found a few weeks ago in the portion from the book of Numbers . Miriam also rebelled against Moses’ authority and anointing. When she did, the entire camp knew that G-d spoke to and through Moses in an entirely different way than He spoke to anyone else.
Then He [G-d] said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, HaShem, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of HaShem. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” -Numbers 12:6-8
I will raise up for them a Prophet like you ( Moses ) from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. -Deuteronomy 18:18-19
In the book of new testament in the chapter of Acts 3, and Acts 7, Disciples tell us that Yeshua is that “Prophet like Moses.” Though we know that the anointing and authority of Yeshua is superior to that of Moses, we also know that since the source is the same (i.e. from G-d Himself) and we know that if someone rebels against “Moses” they are in fact rebelling against G-d.
Likewise, if someone rebels against “Moses” they are in rebellion against Yeshua Who is word-come-in-the flesh ( i.e Living Torah). According to the words of the Master Himself, if one disregards the prophetic testimony of Moses, one will not truly follow the Master Yeshua.
But he said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” -Luke 16:31
Whoever commits sin also commits Torah-lessness, and sin is Torah-lessness.
-1 John 3:4
Rebellion against the Torah is something that Spirit of Korach :
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called G-d or that is worshiped, so that he sits as G-d in the temple of G-d, showing himself that he is G-d. For the mystery of Torah-lessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the Torah-less one will be revealed, whom HaShem will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. -2 Thessalonians 1:3-4;7-8
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. -Revelation 19:20
Moses and his Torah are true, but Korah’s company are liars. -b.Sanhedrin 110a
Grace of HaShem:
Nevertheless the children of Korach did not die. -Numbers 26:11
The very man who led a religious rebellion against Moses has descendants who were appointed by King David to be the principle singers and musicians in the worship of the Most High. The grace of the Most High is found when we examine the genealogy of those descendants of Korach who were appointed as the musicians of the Misk’kan and later of the Temple in Jerusalem. Within the same line of genealogy we find Samuel, one of the greatest of all prophets – one who, like Moses, heard the very voice of G-d speaking in plain words.
Samuel was a descendant of the rebel Korach. He was the prophet and King-anointer. The prophet Samuel, was a mere Levite, adopted into the family of Eli who was himself a descendant of Aaron 1 Chronicles 6:31-37; 1 Samuel 1:1-2. Many of the Psalms within our holy Scriptures were written by the descendants of Korach.
Beloved, rather than rebelling against the Torah of G-d, spoken through His prophet Moses, affirmed by Messiah Yeshua as a description of His very character; we should seek to humble ourselves like Moses -Numbers 12:3, and seek to obey and hear the voice of HaShem to serve him.
In the book of New Testament : Korach and his company
Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah’s rebellion. – Jude 1:11
The Talmud says: “Anyone who engages in divisiveness transgresses a Divine prohibition, as it is written, “That he be not as Korach and his company.” -Talmud, Sanhedrin 110a, Soncino Press Edition
The Midrash Rabbah says: “And we find the same in the case of Cain, Korah, Balaam, Doeg, Gehazi, Absalom, Adonijah, Uzziah, and Haman: what they desired was not given to them, and what they possessed was taken from them.” -Genesis Rabbah 20:5
“Any argument that is for the sake of Heaven will in the end be established, and that which is not for the sake of Heaven will not be established in the end. What kind of argument is that which is for the sake of Heaven? The disputes of Shammai and Hillel. And that which is not for the sake of Heaven? This is the argument of Korach. – Pirkei Avot: 5: 17
“For the Sake of Heaven:” Peace and Love Above and Below
The kabbalistic meaning of the Hebrew word for “Heaven,” “Shamayim,” gives us a new understanding of the concept of “for the sake of heaven.” Kabbalistically speaking, the heavens correspond to the G-dly attribute of Tiferet, which represents peace and inclusive balance of the right and left sides.
The Sefer HaBahir explains:
The word “Shamayim” is a combination of the words “eish,” fire, and “mayim,” water. G-d took fire and water and mixed them together to create the heavens. This was where he began, as it says “the beginning of your word is truth” -Psalms 119:160. He took these two opposites and combined them in love and peace, “he makes peace in the heavens” -Job 25:2. Just as he combines opposites to make peace in the heavens, so may he send us peace and love on earth -Sefer HaBahir, 59, free translation.
Heaven is the place where fire and water can coexist. Holding space for opposing energies creates truth, love and peace. The passage in the Sefer Habahir concludes by saying that just as G-d has made harmony between opposites in the heavens, so may he send us love and peace on earth.
A similar idea can be found in the Zohar:
Michael – his foundation is water, Gabriel – his foundation is fire, and the Holy One Blessed Be He made peace between them, as it says “he makes peace in the heavens” -Zohar Vayikra 12a.
Avot 5:17 teaches, “Any controversy that is for the sake of Heaven (l’shaym Shamayim) is detined to result in something of permanent value. A controversy that is not for the sake of Heaven shall not result in anything of permanent value. Which kind of controversy was for the sake of Heaven? The one between Hillel and Shammai. And which kind was not for the sake of Heaven? The one involving Korach and his band.” Dissent is acceptable depending on its purpose. Leaders (and parents) are often faced with people who challenge their authority or decisions. Describe an argument “for the sake of Heaven” in your own words.
Psalm 1, verse 1 says, “Happy is the person who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, or taken the path of sinners, or joined the company of scoffers.” Yalkut Shimoni comments “This refers to Korach who mocked Moses and Aaron. What did he do? He assembled the whole community and began to speak works of mockery before them.” There is midrash that describes this mockery.
Now let us see how the Zohar understands Korach’s debate. It begins (Bereshit 1 17a) by examining the cosmological proceedings of the beginning of creation. On the second day, G-d created the sky by separating the waters above from the waters below. The Midrash says that the second day did not close with G-d’s reflection, “that it was good,” because that was the day in which separation and the potential for strife was created (Bereshit Raba 4,6). One of the consequences of this separation, the division of reality into two, was the creation of gehinom, the lower world. But creation continued and in the space made by the division, existence flowered, sending gehinom down to the netherworld. Unlike the cosmological process, Korach’s debate was not for the sake of heaven; it created division, but didn’t follow up with growth. Division for its own sake summons the birth of the original division – gehinom – which rose from the depths to swallow Korach and his followers.
Long Hair and Divine Judgement :
Rabbi Pinchas Winston makes the following comment on Long Hair and Divine Judgement:
“Korach, son of Yitzhar, grandson of Kehas, great-grandson of Levi …” ( Bamidbar 16:1 ) What’s in a JEWISH name? One can just imagine standing around at a Bris, just as the one honored with the pronouncement of the name of the newly circumcised baby turns to the father to hear the name announced publicly for the first time. “Korach ben Yitzhar, HaLevi.” Would that not raise eyebrows? “Korach”? “Bald One?” Perhaps he was hairless at birth, as many babies are. However, is that any reason to give him a name that would remind him of this the rest of his life? Hardly. Perhaps, then, Yitzhar and his wife were prophets and knew something about the future, even though the Jewish people were still gainlessly ’employed’ in Egypt, with no hope of redemption?
… The Midrash says yes, whether they knew it at the time or not (and it is true of all parents when they give their children Jewish names). For, in last week’s studies, as part of their inauguration ceremony into the Temple service, all the Levi’im were shaven clean. In fact, this is one of the ‘events’ that so angered Korach’s wife that she used it to ‘intimidate’ her husband into following through with his proposed rebellion. The Arizal explains why: This is why he called him ‘Korach’ (‘Bald One’), because, Korach son of Yitzhar also came from the root of Kayin. Now, he was called ‘Korach’ because all the Levi’im had been completely shaven bald, because of the strong “din” that was in them. (Sha’ar HaGilgulim, Chapter 34)
… In other words, the removal of hair from each Levi was more than just a cleansing process; it was also a way of softening a Levi’s propensity to be judgemental — to be din-oriented. For, the Temple was a place of mercy, a place representative of Divine love, not Divine judgement, and this had to be expressed through the very people who performed the Temple service and participated in its upkeep. Now, Kabbalistically, hair (se’ar) represents ‘din,’ just as barley (se’ora) does, which is why it was the Omer-Offering between Pesach and Shavuos, during which time 24,000 of Rebi Akiva’s students died for less than perfect ‘social’ behavior. Interestingly enough is the fact that Rebi Akiva himself was called ‘Korach,’ at least as a nickname. -Perceptions, Parsha Korach, Was Korach Bald?, Rabbi Pinchas Winston
The Arizal explains : This is why he called him ‘Korach’ (‘Bald One’), because, Korach son of Yitzhar also came from the root of Kayin. Now, he was called ‘Korach’ because all the Levi’im had been completely shaven bald, because of the strong “din” that was in them. (Sha’ar HaGilgulim, Chapter 34)
In other words, the removal of hair from each Levi was more than just a cleansing process; it was also a way of softening a Levi’s propensity to be judgemental — to be din-oriented. For, the Temple was a place of mercy, a place representative of Divine love, not Divine judgement, and this had to be expressed through the very people who performed the Temple service and participated in its upkeep.
In addition to this, the Talmud (Eiruvin 100b), makes it a point to mention that the demon named Lilith, has long hair. The Zohar (Vayikra, Page 19a) states that Lilith’s abode is in the depths of the great abyss.
The Tikunei Zohar explains that Moshe’s soul extends and is reincarnated in every generation. Likewise, posing a challenge to the Moshe of the generation is the Korach in every generation. Only in the generation of Mashiach will the Korach of the generation admit to and follow the leadership of the Moshe Rabbeinu of that generation.
The book of Joel : The prophet, in speaking of the “Day of the Lord,” mentions locusts bringing judgement on the land, “wine, oil, wheat and barley” being in short supply and teeth of lions in the context of judgement on Israel. Note also the connection between these “locusts” and “a nation” that has come up upon His land. Joel also speaks of the “meal offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord;” (Daniel 9:27), and vines, trees and water streams (sources of Torah and G-d’s blessings), drying up:
The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, you old men, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land. Has such a thing been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell you your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. That which the cutting locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; which the swarming locust has left, the hopping locust has eaten; and that which the hopping locust has left, the destroying locust has eaten. Awake, you drunkards, and weep; and howl, all you drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, for it is cut off from your mouth. For a nation has come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a lioness. He has laid my vine waste, and splintered my fig tree; he has made it clean bare, and thrown it down; its branches are made white. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. The meal offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord’s ministers, mourn. The field is wasted, the land mourns; for the grain is wasted; the new wine is dried up, the oil languishes. Be you ashamed, O you farmers; howl, O you vine dressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field has perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languishes; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, all the trees of the field, are withered; because joy is withered away from the sons of men. Gird yourselves, and lament, you priests; howl, you ministers of the altar; come, lie all night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God; for the meal offering and the drink offering is withheld from the house of your God. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry to the Lord. Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our God? The seed is shrivels under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the grain is withered. How do the beasts groan! The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yes, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.O Lord, to you I cry; for the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame has burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also to you; for the waters streams have dried up, and the fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness. -Joel 1
I heard what sounded like a voice from somewhere among the four living creatures. It said, “A quart of wheat will cost you a whole day’s wages! Three quarts of barley will cost you a day’s wages too. But don’t ruin the olive oil or the wine.” -Revelation 6:6
Joel’s end-time prophecy continues, and points out that even in this time of judgement, G-d seeks people to come to Teshuvah (repentance). The interesting point is about “two rains” given by G-d. The first one, which comes in the first month (Nissan ) and the second, which is the final one coming at Yom Kippur (i.e., the Day of the Lord). This could be associated with the first coming of Yeshua (i.e He came as the divine Tzaddik, Messiah ben Yoesph, to deal with sin) and His return as Messiah ben David, to deal with salvation and bring in the Kingdom (i.e., Hebrews 9:28).
Joel 2 – Blow the shofar in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord comes, for it is near at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness. Like twilight spread upon the mountains; a great and mighty people; there has never been the like, nor shall be any more after them, through the years of many generations. A fire devours before them; and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; and nothing escapes them. The appearance of them is like the appearance of horses; and like horsemen they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array. At their presence the people are in anguish; all faces are covered with blackness. They run like mighty men; they climb the wall like men of war; and they march everyone on his ways, and they do not break their ranks; Nor does one thrust another; they walk everyone in his path; and when they burst through the weapons, they are not wounded. They run to and fro in the city; they run upon the wall, they climb up into the houses; they enter by the windows like a thief. The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are dark, and the stars withdraw their shining; And the Lord utters his voice before his army; for his camp is very large; for he who executes his word is strong; for the day of the Lord is great and very awesome; and who can abide it? Yet even now, says the Lord, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; And tear your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents of the evil. Who knows if he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him; a meal offering and a drink offering to the Lord your God? Blow the shofar in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly;Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go out of his room, and the bride out of her chamber. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the vestibule and the altar, and let them say, Spare your people, O Lord, and give not your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the Lord was zealous for his land, and pitied his people. And the Lord answered and said to his people, Behold, I will send you grain, and wine, and oil, and you shall be satisfied with that; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations;But I will remove far off from you the northerner, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the eastern sea, and his rear toward the western sea, and his stench and foul smell shall rise, though he has done great things. Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice; for the Lord will do great things. Be not afraid, you beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness shall spring, for the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and the vine yield their strength. Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given you the first rain in due measure, and he has brought down for you the rain in the first month, the former rain, and the latter rain.And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the hopping locust, and the destroying locust, and the cutting locust, my great army which I sent among you. And you shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and my people shall never be ashamed. And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed.
KORACH – Rabbi By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum
In the account of the sin of the Ten Spies in the previous parshah of SHELACH LECHA, we learned about the painful consequences of distorted vision in man’s relation with G-d. The Spies and those who listened to them lacked faith in G-d’s promise to take them to the Land of Israel, allowing outward appearances deceive them into thinking they would be unable to conquer it. The sin could be rectified only through a protracted exile that comes to teach us that, in spite of outward appearances, G-d is in fact leading us to ultimate, complete possession of the Land.
The distortion of vision that is the theme of our present parshah of KORACH, a distortion which led to such dire consequences for Korach and those who listened to him, was of a different nature. In Korach’s case, the distortion lay in the way man views his fellow man: Korach could not bear to see another more prominent than himself. “Why is Moses the king, Aaron the high priest. and Korach just another Levite?”
The sin of vision of the spies is deeply rooted in the sin of eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Just as the outer appearance of the fruit made Eve lose faith in what G-d said about not eating it, so too the spies wanted to see things for themselves and make their own decisions — and they lost their faith. Korach’s sin of vision, on the other hand, is rooted in Cain’s jealousy of Abel, whose offering (the prototype Temple sacrifice of Aaron) found favor in G-d’s eyes. “Why is Abel the priest?” Cain wanted the whole world for himself — so he killed Abel. So too Korach was envious of Aaron’s eternal role as the high priest of G-d’s Temple, and he tried to destroy him.
According to the Midrash, Korach’s “starting point” is to be found at the end of the previous parshah, giving the commandment of Tzitzis, where a single blue thread is tied with seven white threads as fringes on the four corners of our garments. [Issues relating to the use of white linen threads with the blue TECHEILES woolen thread are also bound up with Cain and Abel: the offering of the former was of linen, while the latter offered sheep.] The question that Korach asked was: “If a person is wearing a garment that is entirely TECHEILES, does it also require Tzitzis?” When Moses answered that it does, Korach ridiculed him: “If a single blue thread is enough to fulfill the duty of Tzitzis for a white garment, surely a garment that is entirely TECHEILES doesn’t need Tzitzis!”
Korach wanted a garment that was all TECHEILES, all kingship and grandeur. He did not want to be reminded that the only King is G-d, all around us, in all directions. Korach wanted the kingship and grandeur for himself: he was all TECHEILES, all GEVURAH. According to rabbinic tradition, Korach possessed amazing wealth. Everything was for himself, yet in rebelling against Moses and Aaron, Korach played the democrat, the people’s champion: “All the community, all of them are holy, and HASHEM is within them, and why do you lord it over the Assembly of HASHEM?”
Korach’s rebellion was against the authority of Moses (the rule of law), but he justified it with an appeal to people’s highest ideals: “Everyone is holy — so why do we need priests and rabbis?” Korach used his wealth and prestige to whip everyone up into a frenzy against Moses.
The first word of G-d’s command to Moses and Aaron — “SEPARATE yourselves from this assembly and I will consume them.” (Numbers 16:21) gave its name to a doctrine that was espoused by Rabbi Moses, the Chasam Sofer (1762-1839) leader of European Jewry in his time, in response to the proponents of religious and cultural assimilation. The doctrine is that of HISBADLUS, Separation. At a time when assimilationist thinking was spreading rapidly among the Jews of Europe, the Chasam Sofer urged his faithful co-religionists to separate themselves in every possible way from anyone who deviated from the Judaism of the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Torah law.
Today, assimilation has become so universal that the Torah faithful have little option but to run after the assimilated and try to help them find their way back to G-d. Nevertheless, having an understanding of the origins of HISBADLUS may help us in trying to unravel the knots of MACHLOKET (conflict) in which our communities are so tied up. For HISBADLUS remains the key to the separatist attitudes shown by some in the observant community until today. The essence of HISBADLUS is to try to distance oneself from those who represent a culture and way of life that are in rebellion against G-d’s Torah as we have it from Moses.
The assimilation movement made rapid inroads among Jews everywhere from the 1800’s onwards because of the strength of its appeal to those who felt caged in by the centuries-old restrictions on Jewish social and economic life. While assimilation had its theorists and exponents (from Moses Mendelson onwards), what gave it such power and influence was the fact that it was sponsored by a clique of extremely wealthy Jewish sponsors (= Korach) who were themselves in flight from the Torah of Moses. They used their influence in the countries in which they lived to establish synagogues, educational and cultural institutions that deviated from the traditional pathway. Indeed, they have been so effective that they have succeeded in making what is essentially a deviation appear mainstream, whereas the authentic Torah of Moses appears purely marginal. What could be more of a distortion of vision?
The punishment of Korach and his band was that “they went down alive to SHE-OL” (Numbers 16:30). The bible commentator OR HACHAYIM (Rabbi Chayim ben Attar) explains (ad loc.) the use of the word SHE-OL (which has the connotation of “borrow”) as a term for Hell. “The explanation is that the earth did not have power over them to kill them, but they were left alive, and the earth gave them as a deposit to Gehennom”.
Many seekers of the truth of the Torah are confused about what place She-ol, Gehennom or Hell really play in the Torah worldview. In the Bible, the word used for hell is, as in our parshah, SHE-OL (see also Genesis 42:38 and Deuteronomy 32:22).
Throughout the Talmud, the standard term referring to hell is Gehennom, but this does not appear in the Bible at all except as the name of a location just outside ancient Jerusalem — Gey Hennom, the “Valley of Sighs”. This was where there was an idolatrous temple to Molech, to whom children were dedicated by being passed over fire (making the children scream or “sigh”).
The confusion over what hell really is derives precisely from the fact that all false religions and cults use precisely this idea to strike such fear into the hearts of their led flocks that they will be psychologically locked into the cult all their lives. Going down to hell alive is precisely what is so frightening about the idea, as it means that death is not a refuge of unconsciousness from the threatened pains of hell. On the contrary, “hellfire and brimstone” preachers delight in reminding their audiences how, despite the excruciating pain of the threatened fire and freezing cold, etc., there is no death and no relief in hell, only more and more pain. all this as the punishment of those who dare stray from the cult!
In the Five Books of Moses, the prime sanction that is threatened for disobedience against the Torah is not hell, but rather the tribulations of This World (as in the curses in Leviticus chapter 26 and in Deuteronomy chapter 28). However, Hell is also threatened: “For a fire is kindled through my wrath and it will burn to the depths of SHE’OL.” (Deuteronomy 32:22). The Talmud teaches that unconsciousness and insensitivity provide no relieve in hell. “The worms of the grave are as hard to the dead person as a needle in living flesh” (Shabbos 13b). But the Torah also explicitly states that “When the wicked person turns from all his sins that he did and guards all My laws and practices justice and charity, he will surely live. All his sins that he did will not be remembered against him; through the righteousness that he practiced he will live” (Ezekiel 18:21-22).
The psychological power wielded by priests and cult-leaders over their hypnotized flocks lies in their implicit claim that it is they themselves who determine who will suffer in hell and for what crimes (i.e. betrayal of the cult). However, the Torah teaches that G-d alone determines what each one must suffer, and that a person suffers only for those actions for which he bears responsibility, and not for the crimes of others. (“It is the soul that sins that will die. A son will not bear the sin of a father and a father will not bear the sin of the son. The righteousness of the righteousness will be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon him” — Ezekiel 18:20).
The Torah view is that while hell is certainly painful, it is compassionate in the sense that the sinner pays for his sins in order to be cleansed of them and thus prepared for reconciliation and true communion with G-d. Thus the Torah teaches that there is a time-limit to hell, while the final reward is eternal.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov commented that while we believe in the eternal reward (Gan Eden), and while it MAY BE that Olam Ha-Zeh, “This world”, exists somewhere or other, the place we are in now would for many people appear to be Gehennom, in view of the terrible suffering many people go through here. May all that we may have suffered here be our atonement, and may G-d speedily grant relief from all our troubles and sorrows.
The Talmudic rabbi Rabbah bar bar Hannah relates (Bava Basra 74a) that he was taken by “an itinerant merchant” to a place in the wilderness where Korach and his band were swallowed up. There was a fissure in the crust of the earth from which smoke was rising, and the heat was so intense that some drenched cotton-wool lowered into it on the end of a spear was scorched immediately. The merchant asked him what he could hear. He heard voices crying out: “Moses and his Torah are true, while Korach and his band are deceivers.” The merchant told Rabbah that Korach and his band were rotating in the fire of hell like meat on a spit, and that every thirty days they would complete a circuit and could be heard saying the same thing: “Moses and his Torah are true.”. This fits in well with another teaching of Rabbi Nachman: that the essential pain of hell is not so much physical as the pain and shame at having been wrong all along. If we have been wrong, let’s admit it!
THE TORAH ECONOMY
The account of Korach’s challenge to Moses and Aaron is followed by the laws relating to the sacrificial parts and Terumah (gifts of grain, oil, wine and other produce) given to the priests in return for their service in the Sanctuary, and the tithes which the Levites received in return for theirs.
In Temple times, these gifts made up a substantial part of the livelihood of the priests and Levites, who were thus left free to pursue their work of going out among the people and teaching them the Torah. Since the study and teaching of the Torah are not per se economically productive activities (though they are the source of all blessing, spiritual and material), the only way they can be seriously pursued is when each member of the wider society takes a share in supporting them.
In the words of Rambam (Laws of Shemittah and Jubilee 13:12-13):
“The tribe of Levy did not have a share in the land of Israel or in war booty together with their brothers, because they were separated to serve HaShem and minister to Him and to teach His righteous ways and laws to the multitude. Accordingly they were separated from the ways of the world, they do not fight in war like other Israelites and they do not have a share in the land or attain material power. They are the army of G-d and G-d is their share and inheritance.
“And not only the tribe of Levy, but every single person from all the inhabitants of the world whose spirit encourages him and whose understanding leads him to separate himself to stand before G-d and serve Him, to know G-d and go on the straight path. G-d will remove from his neck the yoke of the “many calculations” that people seek for themselves. For this person has sanctified himself as a holy of holies, and HaShem will be his portion for ever and ever and G-d will provide him in this world with what suffices him, just as G-d provided the priests and the Levites with their livelihood. And thus King David said: HaShem is the portion of my share and my cup: You sustain my lot!”
Shabbat Shalom!!! – Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
Haftarat Korach – 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22
Our haftarah portion from the Prophets is connected to the Torah portion in two ways. first, how Israel demanded a king like the nations around her. This further reveals the point about the contest between Moses and Korach was not about authority, but rather about rebelling against the Hashem’s Torah. Similarly, Israel was not content with HaShem as King, and demanded that Samuel give them a “real king.” Samuel complied, as G-d commanded him to. The second one is actually in the person of Samuel. Samuel the prophet was a descendant of Korach. As a student of the Torah, you know that not all of Korach’s sons were destroyed when Korach went down alive into the pit. In fact, the sons of Korach are the praise makers of the First Temple era.
The spirit of Korach is rebellion against Moses and the Torah that HaShem spoke through him. It is rebelling against the eternal priesthood of Aaron.
HaShem is our only King. Messiah is the only Head of His congregation. He is our only Master.
Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before HaShem in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. -1 Samuel 11:14-15
Then Samuel said to the people, “It is HaShem who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before HaShem concerning all the righteous acts of HaShem which He did to you and your fathers: When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to HaShem, then HaShem sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. And when they forgot HaShem their G-d, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. Then they cried out to HaShem, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken HaShem and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ And HaShem sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety. And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when HaShem your G-d was your king.
Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, HaShem has set a king over you. If you fear HaShem and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of HaShem, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following HaShem your G-d. However, if you do not obey the voice of HaShem, but rebel against the commandment of HaShem, then the hand of HaShem will be against you, as it was against your fathers. –1 Samuel 12:6-15
If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ – which you have not known – ‘and let us serve them, ‘you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for HaShem your G-d is testing you to know whether you love HaShem your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after HaShem your G-d and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from HaShem your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which HaShem your G-d commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. -Deuteronomy 13:1-5
Blessed art Thou, HaShem, Who brings forth the Manifestation of Salvation. ( Baruch Atah HaShem, matzmiach keren Yeshuah )
We will see that the children of Israel return to Most High and Torah of Mashiach, And will hug in the Holy Land, and by obeying and listening the “VOICE of Most Ancient Holy One of Israel”, will bring offerings in a righteous way on the holy mountain and also bring the Ark of the covenant with pure heart in the right place ( i.e In Har HaBayit, on the foundation Stone) .
We will Welcome the son of David on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
[ Ha Khadosh Baruch Hu – Baruch HaBa B’Shem Adonai ] – Gaddi, President, BetYisrael International.
Gaddi – President