Friday, June 27, 2008

Parsha Roundup and Reaction

  1. Gems Of Torah
    "One of the reasons Korach gets his name on the Parsha is that he did want to serve Hashem more."
    Another reason is that Korach's name is the second word in the parsha.
  2. At Hirhurim, an occasional vort, which interprets Rashi's comment on vayikach korach that "He took himself" as being that he “took for himself.” This is not the meaning of Rashi, who is initially trying to solve a peshat-based grammatical question about the valence of vayikach, as an Anonymous commenter (the fifth commenter) partially notes.
  3. Rabbi Berel Wein on Korach:
    Moshe, who is known as a person of limitless patience and tolerance... And yet with Korach and his followers, Moshe adopts a hard line and uncompromising stance... The deeper issue here is that Korach wishes to convert Torah and Judaism to a man-made “democratic” faith, not its original and true source as a faith revealed to humans from on high, a faith and life system ordained in Heaven and revealed to humans... On that basic core issue of Judaism, Moshe sees no room for compromise or tolerance... The struggle to maintain Judaism as a Godly revealed religion is an ongoing one. There are many forces within and without the Jewish world that have attempted and still attempt to remove the Godly revealed part from Judaism.
    I, too, have long held the possibility that this idea of "democratic" Judaism was Korach's claim. It finds extremely strong purchase in the pesukim and the midrashim. Yet I would like a concrete example of what he considers this democratic, Korachite force, which seeks to strip God out of Judaism. And yet 'וּבְתוֹכָם ה seems to suggest some role for God here. See Shadal's take on the nature of the dispute.
  4. Rabbi Yossocher Frand on Korach:
    [T]he Almighty administers punishment in a "measure for measure" fashion. What significance is there to the fact that the earth swallowed up the people who sided with Korach? ... What did Korach take? Rashi's approach is that Korach took himself off to one side, to be separate from the assembly of Israel by raising objections regarding the priesthood... As a result of this "striking out on one's own", everything else follows naturally. Inevitably, the next step will be something akin to "he was jealous regarding the fact that Elizaphon was appointed the Prince of the Tribe of Levi."... Once one fails to see himself as part of the tzibur, one becomes bothered by other people's roles.
    Beautiful as homiletics, but I think that this is a misinterpretation of Rashi. See Rashi inside. I would say that pashut peshat in Rashi is that first Korach was jealous. As a result, he separated from the tzibbur in order to contest the kehunah.
  5. Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald on Datan and Aviram the Protagonists. One small excerpt:
    Although the Torah does not describe Dathan and Abiram playing a very major role in the rebellion, they are portrayed in the Midrash as the most arrogant and defiant of people. The fact that they stand "neetz'a'vim," erect, is identified by the rabbis as the paradigm of defiance. The Talmud therefore concludes (Tractate Nedarim 64b), "Wherever the words ‘nee'tzim,' fighting, or ‘neetz'a'vim,' stand erect, appears in the Torah it is an allusion to Dathan and Abiram.
  6. Rabbi Zev Leff makes the same claim as Rabbi Yissocher Frand, that Rashi is claiming that the separation caused the jealousy, rather than vice versa. As noted, I am not convinced this is Rashi's intent at all:
    Rashi comments on the opening words of the sedrah, “Korach took -- He took himself off to one side.” Korach separated himself. He did not see himself as a part of the klal, but rather as a detached, isolated individual. His sense of separation caused his jealousy of Elizaphon ben Uziel, when the latter was appointed as the family head, and led to his lust for the glory of the kehunah gedolah.

5 comments:

Soccer Dad said...

While I'm not saying it's definitive, there's a lot to recommend Rabbi Buchwald's view.

A few years ago, I started to wonder if Korach got edged aside. Moshe doesn't get angry until he is rebuffed by Dasan and Aviram. But why did he go to them. Is it possible that after Korach started the rebellion they co-opted the leadership for themselves.

In Tehillim, Korach's name isn't mentioned!

(A friend suggested that maybe since Bnei Korach - specifically Assaf or Aviassaf - contributed to Tehilim, David protected their father's reputation.)

Anonymous said...

Parshas Korach:
The Gemara in Sanhedrin in Perek Chelek speaks extensively about this week’s Parsha. The Gemara speaks about the group of people who joined Korach’s group in a rebellion against Moshe. The Gemara says he choose קריאי מועד.The question that comes to mind is: What is the significance of this choice? The first thing we must understand is what are they? The Gemara explains the term and says:
קריאי מועד שהיו יודעים לעבר שנים ולקבוע חדשים
That is that these are people who know how to figure out when to make a leap year and when to declare a month.
We must now return to the original question: What is the significance of this choice? This requires further background information to answer so first we ask another question
What job did Korach want? We know he does not want Moshe’s position because that was not his complaint. as Rashi says:
אם לקחת אתה מלכות לא היה לך לברר לאחיך כהונה לא אתם לבדכם שמעתם בסיני אנכי ה' אלהיך כל העדה שמעו
He said “Why did you take Ahron as Cohen Gadol we all heard Hashem decrees not your family alone heard it, we are all holy so why do you grab all the honor for your Family?
Korach accused Moshe of choosing Ahron because of nepotism. The Rashi later Points out that Korach was not a fool. Then the question arises how he could make such a statement? Everyone knew that Ahron was not chosen because he was Moshe brother but because he was the most worthy candidate. This is established by Rashi when describing the dedication of the Mishkan in Parshas Shemini as there it says:
לפי שכל ז' ימי המלואים שהעמידו משה למשכן ושמש בו ופרקו בכל יום לא שרתה בו שכינה והיו ישראל נכלמים ואומרים למשה משה רבינו כל הטורח שטרחנו שתשרה שכינה בינינו ונדע שנתכפר לנו עון העגל לכך אמר להם זה הדבר אשר צוה ה' תעשו וירא אליכם כבוד ה' אהרן אחי כדאי וחשוב ממני שע"י קרבנותיו ועבודתו תשרה שכינה בכם ותדעו שהמקום בחר בו
Translation : Seven days of the installation Moshe set up the Tabernacle and served in it, and took it down every day--- the Shechinoh did not rest on it, and Israel were ashamed, saying to Moshe: "Our master Moshe! All the trouble we went to that the Shechinoh should rest among us, and that we should know that we have achieved atonement for the sin of the Calf. Therefore he said to them: "This is what Hashem commanded you to do and the glory of the Shechinoh will appear to you. My brother Ahron is worthy and [even] more important that I, for by means of his sacrifices and his service the Shechinoh will rest among you, and you will know that the Omnipresent chose him.
Now it was completely clear then that it was Ahron who was chosen so what was Korach’s complaint. We see that Ahron was so great he did what Moshe could not. What kind of complaint is nepotism .Ahron had already proven himself the man for the job? Reb Yosef Salant answers it must be that Korach’s complaint was that anyone Moshe would have chosen would have had this happen. It was not Ahron per say, but It was that Moshe choose his brother Ahron. That is if someone else would have been chosen they too would have the Shechinoh appear. We see this in Shabbos there the Gemara says דתניא ג' דברים עשה משה מדעתו והסכים הקב"ה עמו He did it and only later did hashem concur
We now can answer the question; what is the significance of the choice of קריאי מועד? Korach was very calculated he choose the קריאי מועד because we have one place in Halacha with the concept of Hashem allowing himself to be the secondary decision maker. That is allowing people to do the deciding themselves and going along with it. This is the קריאי מועד. By Kiddush Hachodesh the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah says even if Beis Din makes a mistake in calculation, and even purposefully it changes Rosh Chodesh for the good of the people coming to be Oleh Regel Hashem will approve the Beis dins decision. Korach Choose these people who calculated theses dates to illustrate and show the world Hashem made the Shechinoh come down not because Ahron was worthy, but because Moshe choose him. Just like Kiddush Hachodesh and a leap year is because the קריאי מועד choose to make it a Rosh Chodesh or a Leap Year.
This also explains another Rashi where he brings down a Medrash which can not be understood on the pshat level Rashi says:
ומדרשו בקר א"ל משה גבולות חלק הקב"ה בעולמו יכולים אתם להפוך בקר לערב כן תוכלו לבטל את זו שנאמר (בראשית א) ויהי ערב ויהי בוקר ויבדל כך (דה"א כג) ויבדל אהרן להקדישו
Translation: According to the Midrashic interpretation of "morning": Moshe said to them, 'G-d marked His universe with boundaries. Can you possibly transform morning into evening? That is how possible it is for you to nullify this, as it is said, "It became evening and it became morning, and He separated" similarly, "Ahron was separated to be consecrated.
With this Rashi Moshe is answering Korach’s complaint. Korach said your choice of Ahron was as a Rosh Chodesh meaning: your decision agreed to by Hashem. But with this Medrash we have Moshe answering. No it is not Rosh Chodesh but the decision to pick Aharon is like day and night. Day and night are Completely in Hashem dominion and not for Humans to interfere so to is the choosing of Ahron not chosen by me but by Hashem.
The Gemara In Baba Basra And in Sanhedrin brings down A story about Rabba Bar Channah Had an Arab who showed him the hole where Korach was swallowed up and He told him at the end of every 30 days every , To which the Rashbam says means every Rosh Chodesh because that was their Mistake now they fixing it.Now every month he comes and you hear him say “Moshe emes Vsoroso Emmes”.

Moshe said...

In shul this week I saw a Parsha sheet that quote the Chozeh from Lublin as fondly calling Korah "Zayde Korach" and saying that is we were back in the time of Moshe and Korach we should not have taken sides - we should simply have waited and seen how G-d would decide.

Has anyone ever seen this before or have a source for it?

Moshe said...

Here is someplace on the internet that it is found:
http://www.kolot.info/publications/weekly_issue/bamidbar/korach/engelman1/

ומפורסם בשם החוזה מלובלין שאמר, שאילו חי בזמנו של סבא קרח- היה מן הסתם מצטרף למחנה שלו.

joshwaxman said...

In high school I had a rebbe, Rabbi Horowitz, who had a tradition that he was descended from Korach. They call themselves Korach Leviim, and they refer to Korach as "the heilege zeide Korach." And say that Korach is misunderstood, and that his claims were holy and deeper than we can understand, etc.

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