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עשה תורתך קבע – אמור מעט ועשה הרבה

A Disturbing Turn of Events – קרח

Posted by rabbiart on June 27, 2008

This week we are reading Parshat Korach. Moshe, after successfully extricating the Israelites from the slavery of Mitzrayim, guidng them to Har Sinai and receiving the Torah on their behalf, is now confronted by a disgruntled group of Levites.  They are led of course by Korach. He is assisted by Dathan, Abiram and On.  In total, 254 men, all of them leaders and “men of renown.”  In short, people who were already part of the leadership, people who already had an important role to fulfill in the service of the people. As Moshe attempts to explain.

הַמְעַט מִכֶּם, כִּי-הִבְדִּיל אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶתְכֶם מֵעֲדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְהַקְרִיב אֶתְכֶם, אֵלָיו–לַעֲבֹד, אֶת-עֲבֹדַת מִשְׁכַּן יְהוָה, וְלַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי הָעֵדָה, לְשָׁרְתָם.

“is it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?”

There are so many ways to approach this sad and disturbing situation.  We might ask whether this is an organizational issue, a power struggle, a question of faith.  But every so often, we should also remind ourselves that the characters in the Torah were real people, each with their own burdens, their own feelings, their own drives, ust like us!  We might ask, “what drove Korach and crew to resent Moshe so much that they acted in this way?”  We might ask, how did this make Moshe feel, after all that he had done to this point, to be treated in this fashion?

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