Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Korach

The following is a brief summary of some of 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 parsha vort by noting that there is a machlokes among the rishonim as to when the Korach story takes place. In the order of the Torah it follows the story of the meraglim. However the Ibn Ezra states that it happens earlier.

R' Frand stated that there is strength to the Ibn Ezra's position, since Rashi notes that Korach was jealous that Elitzafan became the Nasi as he was the son of Yitzhar. Korach saw that Amram as the oldest of K'has' sons had two of his own sons become - the leader of the Jews (Moshe) and the Kohain Gadol (Aharon). As the son of Yitzhar (the second born son of K'has), Korach expected that the position of Nasi would come to him. Instead, the son of the fourth brother became the Nasi. Since the story of appointing the Nasi took place in the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar, the Ibn Ezra's position that the Korach story was earlier makes sense.

R' Frand next quoted the Ramban who explains that the story is in its correct place. He explains that Korach was a bright man and knew when he could challenge Moshe. Earlier in the Torah, Moshe was very popular and Korach would not have been able to challenge him. Indeed, had Korach spoken out against Moshe he would have been stoned. However, after the story of the slav and the sin of the spies in which Moshe did not pray for the Jewish people and cause the Heavenly decree to be changed, the view of the populace had turned and now Korach could speak against him.

However, the language of the Ramban is curious - what does it mean that Moshe did not daven for them? In Bamidbar 14:13- 20 Moshe prays to Hashem to forgive the Jewish people. In response Hashem stated in Bamidbar 14:21 - Salachti K'dvarecha - I have forgiven because of your words. So why does the Ramban state that Moshe did not daven for them?

R' Frand answered by quoting the Ramban himself, as the Ramban explains that at the time of the Egel, Moshe was able to convince Hashem not to wipe out the Jewish people. However as to the Meraglim, Moshe knew that there was no way that he could convince Hashem not to wipe out the Jews. Instead, Moshe davened to Hashem and as a result the Jews died out over the forty years in the desert, instead of immediately.

However, the people looked at Moshe and saw that the decree had not been revoked. They thought that he was able to pray successfully for anything and that if the decree was not rescinded, it must be because he did not daven for them. Therefore, they turned on him.

R' Frand asked - but what happened to hakaras hatov? Moshe had done so much for them - from the time that he came down to Egypt until this very day. Why was there no recognition of all that he had accomplished?

R' Frand then commented on an old GM commercial in which the announcer voiced - it is uniquely American to ask - what have you done for me lately? R' Frand stated that he was always bothered by this commercial - it may be uniquely American, but that is not the way of the Jewish people. Because he was unsuccessful once, he should be cast aside?

R' Frand also observed that they concluded that Moshe did not pray --this must be because he does not care. And for a leader not to care is a cardinal sin. R' Frand quoted who he believed was Teddy Roosevelt who stated - "people don't care what you know, they want to know that you care." And the leader who does not care will lose his following.

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