Friday, June 24, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Korach

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha 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.

Rabbi Frand characterized Parshas Korach as having one of the most troubling incidents in the Torah -- when Korach challenges Moshe. After Moshe attempts unsuccessfully to appease Korach, Moshe tells the Jews at Bamidbar 16:30 that there will be a test. If the earth opens up and swallows up Korach and his cohorts, then you will know that Hashem chose Moshe to be the leader.

Rashi on the pasuk states that the opening of the earth will be a form of death that has never happened before and will never happen again. Rabbi Frand asked on this Rashi, why is it that the form of death had to be that the earth would open up? Couldn't the death have been a lightning strike or snake bite? Why did it have to be a form of death which never happened before or after?

R' Frand quoted the Margolies Hayam on Gemara Sanhedrin 109b who states in the name of the Belzer Rav (1913) who himself stated in the name of his father that this form of death was a way to show mercy to these people. Since the death was not instantaneous, the people had an opportunity to do teshuva before the earth closed over them. The gemara states in Bava Basra that people who have walked by this place heard people saying Moshe Emes V'Soraso Emes and this only came because the people had an opportunity and did do teshuva before they died.

R' Frand then quoted the Tolner Rebbi who stated that the way that Korach got people to buy into his argument was by selling the concept of equality - everyone is holy, everyone is the same. Korach had his own special form of communism - "Korachism" - everyone is equal and why should Moshe be the leader or Aharon the Kohain Gadol?

The Zohar states Korach took his concept of equality to the extreme and had a problem with the concept of shabbos. Korach said that all days are the same, so why do we act differently on shabbos?

Hashem's response to Korach is that there are differences in the world including differences between people, between shabbos and the weekday and holy and impure. Hashem shows these differences through the earth. The earth gives forth different fruits and vegetables - they are not all the same. The earth supports different animals - they are not all shaped nor fed the same way. The earth shows that Hashem wants symphony - different things that work together well. This is the concept of people - we are all different but can work togther to a common goal. Hashem then says to Korach - this is My earth and you can walk on it as long as you subscribe to My theory that there are differences. But if you argue with My theory and say that things all should be the same - you can't walk on My earth anymore.

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