Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Korach

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts 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.

R' Frand began his vort with a paraphrase of the preface to a tale of two cities "It was the best of women, it was the worst of women."

The gemara in Sanhedrin and related medrash says that a smart woman builds her house and the foolish woman destroys her house. The smart woman was the wife of On Ben Peles, the foolish woman is the wife of Korach.

The medrash explains that when Korach came home from the ceremony of dedication of the Levi'im, he was shaved from head to toe. Korach's wife said - what happened to you? Korach responded that Moshe did this to me. Korach's wife asked - are you crazy? Korach responded that Moshe even did this to his own children.

The medrash continues with Korach's wife asking what else did Moshe do? Korach responded that Moshe picked him up and waved him. Korach's wife again said - are you a fool? He answered that Moshe did this to everyone else.

The wife again approached Korach and asked - what did you learn. Korach responded, we learned the laws of tzizis. Korach's wife said - how foolish is this - what happens to a garment that is all techeles, does it need tzizis? 

In so doing, Korach's wife sowed the seeds for her husband's destruction and motivated and goaded him into rebelling against Moshe.

The gemara explains that On's wife was the smart one who built her house as she saved her husband. She asked - why are you getting involved in this fight? Regardless of whether Moshe or Korach win, you will still be On and you will not be a Kohain!

On responded to his wife - but what can I do? I have already committed to going with him! 

On's wife then said to him - I will take care of this. She got On drunk and he fell asleep. Thereafter, she went and sat at the entrance to their tent and uncovered her hair. When Korach and his group saw that her hair was uncovered they ran the other way. Thus On was saved from the punishment meted out to Korach and his followers.

R' Frand said two thoughts related to these stories. The first was an observation that these people were creating conflict with Moshe. The gemara teaches that one who argues with his teacher is like he rejects Hashem. 

R' Frand asked - are these frum people? Obviously not if they are fighting with Moshe. So why did they run the other way when they saw On's wife had her hair uncovered?

R' Frand then approached the thought from another angle. These people were very frum because they did not want to see a married woman's hair. But they had no problem starting trouble for others, because they enjoyed stirring up trouble.

R' Frand observed that we have these problems still to this very day. There are people who are very religious, but they have no problem with publicly arguing with their Rabbi and airing their disputes with their shul in public.

R' Frand closed his vort with thoughts on disputes, but I would like to add a different dimension to this blog post. 

Today, I attended the funeral of a friend of my 14 year old daughter. The girl who passed away was hit by a car yesterday. She was pronounced dead at the hospital within an hour of the accident. 

The community was in shock. I came home that night to find Mrs KB and my older two daughters crying and saying tehillim.

When the funeral began, various Rabbanim from the community said tehillim and then the eulogies began. The first speaker was the mother of the girl. There were no dry eyes when she spoke and she was very emotional about the loss of her only daughter. But her reaction absolutely blew me away.

In between grieving and crying and reliving her daughter's short life, the mother talked about her daughter's disposition and how she never said unkind words about other children. The mother made several nedarim during the eulogy that she would never speak lashon hara and would dedicate herself to watching her speech, in honor and memory of her daughter.

I sat there listening, almost incredulously as this mother who had just lost her oldest child, talked about things that she would do to honor her daughter's memory. Although the girl had passed away less than twenty-four hours before, the mother, in between tears, was able to take positive steps and inspire the hundreds of people gathered there.

There could be no greater example of a wise woman who (re)built her house.

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