Parshas Korach

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

רב לכם בני לוי (פרק טז פסוק ז)

Korach comes with his followers to complain that Moshe has taken too many honors for himself and his brother. Moshe commands them to come the next day with an offering of קטרות and Hashem will show whom He chooses to serve Him. Rashi asks, how could Korach have been so foolish to continue his tirade, doesn’t he know that he will lose in Hashem’s choosing? Rashi explains that Korach saw with divine inspiration that he will have the great Shmuel Hanavi and 24 groups of righteous Leviim as descendants, and he therefore reasoned that he deserves honor and greatness already and that he will not be harmed in this fight. His mistake was that really his sons would be saved, as they would repent, but he would perish. R’ Avraham Pam expounds according to this; the root of Korach’s downfall was that he could not wait for the greatness that was coming to him. In just a few generations his family would truly deserve the honor, but now was not the time. Korach’s haste and impatience in receiving the glory resulted in him erring in judgement. R’ Pam applies this as a lesson for all of us. Our path of growth does not go from 0 to 60, rather we must take small steps with determination to achieve our goals. We cannot lose patience in achieving our aspirations, this was Korach’s mistake, and we should recognize that every small thing that we do is important and has eternal worth as a step towards our eventual greatness.

ויחר למשה מאד ויאמר אל ה’ אל תפן אל מנחתם (פרק טז פסוק טו)

When Moshe realized that Korach and his followers were truly going to go along with the challenge of bringing קטורת, he turned to Hashem with a plea that He does not accept their offering. The Alter of Kelm saw in this a tremendous lesson in the power of prayer. Korach’s men were clearly doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons, and yet Moshe felt the need to pray that Hashem does not accept their offering, which would happen through their תפילות. Even though by acceptance of their קטורת and prayers, Hashem would be giving credence to their heretical views and ideologies, the power of prayer is so great that Moshe was concerned that Hashem would indeed listen to them. R’ Yaakov Neiman adds, can we imagine how Hashem listens to our prayers that He help and save the Jewish People?! If He would potentially listen to sinners, when their intention is anti-Hashem, how much more so must He listen to us when we pray for the very things that He wishes for.

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