Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Korach

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In the first aliyah of Parshas Korach, Moshe confronts Korach's rabble and their desire to become kohanim. During this confrontation, Moshe tells them in Bamidbar 16:6 - "Zos Asu, Kichu Lachem Machtos, Korach V'chul Adaso" - this you should do, take for yourself fire pans, Korach and his entire group.

Rashi comments that Moshe was telling them this as a message about unity - there are many forms of idol worship and many false priests for the worship of idols. On the other hand, we have only one Hashem, one Torah, one Ark, one Altar and one Kohain Gadol.

The question can be asked - but in the mishkan there was a set of multiples as there were two keruvim (cherubs) which stood facing each other in front of the ark!

Rabbi Frand answered by citing the Gerre Rebbe who explains that the keruvim were two parts of the whole - they faced each other and were linked by their connection to the Torah which was contained in the ark which they stood in front of.

Rabbi Frand then observed that although there is far too much dissension in the Jewish world, there are three things that unify Jews. The first topic identified by Rabbi Frand was business. Jews of extreme diverse backgrounds can work together in one business towards the goal of making the business successful - even people as diverse as chassidim and Ivy League educated serugies can be seen joining together to make a successful business endeavor.

The second topic identified by Rabbi Frand as unifying is hospital emergency rooms. He explained that when Jews are together in the waiting room, hoping to hear about their loved ones who are being treated, they tend to rally and support each other - davening for and wishing well to each other's relative and offering moral support and consolation when things look difficult.

The third topic mentioned by Rabbi Frand is the simcha of learning Torah. Rabbi Frand mentioned (and I have had the zchus to observe first hand on two occasions) how very diverse groups of Orthodox Jews will celebrate and dance together at the Siyum Hashas because they have completed learning the mesechtos. I have also seen this among those who learn the daf yomi. It is incredible to see how many people are learning the daf from varying backgrounds and how they can come together at a shiur to learn the daf. I have seen people start conversations with complete strangers because they see them holding an Artscroll gemara for the mesechta being learned at the time by the daf yomi. This is the power of the Torah as a unifying factor.

Rabbi Frand then closed the vort by commenting that l'havdil, this can be seen among other people in relation to sports. Two people can sit side by side at a ball game - one with grease under his finger nails and a beer gut and the other wearing a $$$ suit and using a BlackBerry. But if the team scores they will be high fiving each other and giving their views on the team's prospects.

The lesson of the keruvim is that the Torah can be this kind of unifying factor and that those who learn and share it can bring together disparate elements of the Jewish people.

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