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Tuesday, Tammuz 1, 5780 / June 23, 2020


Today is the second day Rosh Chodesh Tammuz.


In this week’s Parsha, Korach, which we will read this Shabbat in the Diaspora, the Torah tells the story of Korach and his followers, who were punished for revolting against Moshe and Aaron. Not only Korach and his followers were punished, but also all of Korach's possessions were swallowed with him into the ground.


We know the saying, “One doesn’t take their physical wealth with them when they leave this world. Korach was an exception. Everything he possessed went with him into the ground.


Q. Korach was punished for going against G-d and Moshe, but why were his possessions destroyed? 


A. Our sages explain that Korach’s tremendous wealth played a major role in his revolt against Moshe and Aaron. It was because of his wealth that he was so haughty and was able to influence others to join his revolt. This is why not only Korach and his followers were punished, but also his wealth which was a major factor in all of this.


Wealth can be a great blessing, but it can, G-d forbid, also be a curse. Wealth is wonderful, but it has to be handled with great care. Our sages say that wealth is like fire which, when handled properly, it brings light and warmth, but if mishandled, it can cause great destruction. People are so careful not to lose their wealth, but it’s even more important not to get lost by it.


King Solomon in Ecclesiastics says, "Wealth can at times be to the detriment of its owner."  Our sages say that this refers to the wealth of Korach who, in the end, lost his own life and everything he possessed as a result of using his wealth for the wrong things.


A person’s work or business is a vessel which one has to make through which and into which G-d's blessings will flow.  Thus, a business conducted with honesty and according to the laws of the Torah is a proper vessel conducive to drawing G-d's blessings.


Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Barditchev once saw a man running about frantically in the marketplace. He stopped the man and asked him, "What are you doing?" 


The man replied, "Can't you see, Rabbi.  I'm running to make a living."


"You are making a mistake!" replied the Rabbi. "Making a living is not your doing.. it comes from G-d. What you have to do is make the proper vessel for G-d's blessings to come into. You have to do your part; study Torah, give charity and perform the mitzvot. My question was, what are YOU doing? Are YOU living up to your part of the deal?"