Drash Cards for Korach (5761)
by Marc Mangel
• We have the rebellion of Korach and the redemption of the first born in this parsha
• Rebellion is a challenge to leadership (Chr 16, v2) in which Korah, Moses, the Israelites, and God all play roles.
• Korach is a first cousin to Moses and Aaron and an ancestor of Shmuel. The Midrash says he is proud, money hungry, and ambitious. From Rashi onwards all commentators say that Korach is envious of Moshe and that this is the source of the challenge
• Moses falls on his face in response to this challenge (Ch 16, v 4). The commentators are oddly silent on this. Is he weakened? Frustrated?
• Leadership is not just doing things, but convincing people that you are doing the right thing. For this they need trust. About Moses, Zelig Piskin in Growth Through Torah write “Keep trying to make peace” (Ch 16, v 12) — be willing to apologize since “During a quarrel focus on making peace, not blaming” (Ch 17, v 5 — a prohibition against quarelling)
• God twice wants to destroy the entire people (Ch 16, v 20; Ch 17, v 10). Moses intervenes by falling on his face.
• What about the Israelites? Nehama notes that the commentators note that people are not taking a side but waiting to see how it comes out.
• A modern view, due to Rav Solevetchik: Korach asks for equality and egalitarianism, since all of the assembly is Holy (Ch 16, v 3).
• Rav Solevetchik notes that we have the 1) Brit Avot — ancestral covenant involving family and 2) Brit Sinai — the covenant where we achieve holiness through actions.
• Korach emphasized the ancestral covenant, and he was right in doing this since it is the basis of all Judasim. Rav Solevetchik says “Many Jews today are Korach Jews — they remember the ancestral but not the Sinai covenant..Other Jews are need of Korach’s message — if they only had a sense of the ancestral covenant, all our futures would be brighter.
• The path of spiritual reconnection is from the ancestral covenant as a foundation to the Sinai covenant for spiritual nourishment.
• And that is what we learn from Korach