Sign up to TorahFax


Monday, Sivan 28, 5779 / July 1, 2019


This week’s Parsha (in the Diaspora) is, Korach.


Korach, from the tribe of Levi, was Moshe’s cousin.  According to our sages, he was one of the wealthiest men. Korach was a jealous person and when Moshe didn't appoint him to a position of leadership, he revolted against Moshe. 


Korach convinced 250 people, mostly from the neighboring tribe of Reuben, to join him in his revolt. They all assembled against Moshe and Aaron and said, “You take too much honor for yourselves."  Korach argued that, "the entire congregation is holy and G-d is among them," so there is no need for Moshe and Aaron's leadership.


"Your argument is not against us, but against G-d." Moshe reminded Korach.


Not being able to change Korach's mind, Moshe told the people to move away from Korach and his group. Moshe proclaimed, "If G-d will make the ground open its mouth and swallow them up together with all their belongings and they go down alive into the pit, then you shall know that these men have despised the L-rd."


As soon as Moshe finished speaking, "The earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, together with their households and all their goods."


In each of the past three Parshiot Jews revolted against Moshe. First they complained about the manna. They desired meat in addition to the manna. G-d punished them. Then they revolted by sending the spies to scout the land. In the end, they refused to go into the Promised Land. Again they were punished that they stayed in the desert for another 38 years, where all the people, over age 20 at the time of sending the spies, died throughout the next 38 years.


In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Eliezer says, “Envy, lust and the seeking of honor drive a person from the world."


The Talmud says that a person should be careful not to desire and envy what does not belong to them; “For Korach wanted something which did not belong to him. As a result, not only didn’t he get what he desired, but he also lost what he already had!”  Jealousy is destructive.


However, when the jealousy concerns spiritual matters (Torah knowledge, good deeds, etc.) and drives a person to strive higher, achieve more and be better, that jealousy is constructive and encouraged.