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Nahar U'Pashtei Parshas Korach 5781

נהר ופשטיה Nahar U’Pashtei A Weekly Insight From מרן הרה״ג ר׳ שלו׳ ראובן פיינשטיין שליט״א לע״נ משה בן צבי אלטע שרה חנה בת אליהו מירל בת משה Issue #127 פרשת קרח


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Who Really Deserves Honor

 Korach’s rebellion against Moshe and Aharon teaches us many lessons about how the drive for honor and power can lead a person down a spiral of evil that he never dreamt he would be involved in. There is nothing good about a machlokes, and it is never the answer to one’s grievances. Korach had the audacity to demand that he serve as Kohen Gadol, and he spread his illegitimate desire to a large group of followers, who all sought the same honor. Moshe had no choice but to allow these evil men to publicly offer ketores along with Aharon, to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was not Moshe, but Hashem Himself, Who appointed Aharon as Kohen Gadol. Of course, Moshe tried to do what he was able to deter Korach and his men from actually carrying out this test. He informed the rebels that the ketores they would offer would be at the risk of their very lives! Only the Kohen Gadol chosen by Hashem would survive. All the other people would die for offering a foreign ketores offering. This itself should have actually stopped any rationally thinking person from following through with this test; for why would anyone risk their life on the chance that any of the others offering the ketores would have been Hashem’s chosen Kohen! Alas, these men were already imprisoned inside the fire of the machlokes and they could not pull themselves out; a harrowing lesson in-and-of itself, when one takes a birds-eye view of these events. But what I would like to focus on here is the rebuke that Moshe said to Korach with the words, rav lachem bnei Levi, it is enough for you, children of Levi. What did Moshe Rabbeinu mean to tell Korach with this added phrase? As we know, Korach’s main complaint stemmed from the fact that he was not satisfied with holding the exalted status of a Levi - he felt that he was truly righteous, and deserved a promotion to the status of a Kohen. He claimed that the Kohen Gadol had the ability to gain a closeness to Hashem not available to anyone else and he coveted that chance to experience this relationship with Hashem. Furthermore, Korach desired the great honor of the Kohen Gadol’s office, which received more honor than even that of a Levi. Moshe was attempting to explain to Korach that his view here was skewed. Hashem gives each person a unique mission to complete, and it is therefore untenable for a person to think that he has completed his mission to such a degree of perfection that he deserves a “promotion” to a different role. It is incomprehensible to think that Korach could replace Aharon, or for that matter, that any member of the nation could replace Korach! Rather, every person has their unique role. A person’s strengths and weaknesses are relative to his mission alone, and everyone receives equal reward should he fulfill his potential. “So”, said Moshe to Korach, “it is the honor that you seek? Honor too is simply a consequence of where Hashem puts you. No honor is due any one person more than any another, for we are all equal - soldiers, fighting our specific battles! Thus, it is enough for you the honor that Hashem has given.” Unfortunately, Korach was no longer hearing logic, and he lost his life and his olam haba’ah shortly thereafter. But we can still hear the great comfort and encouragement that comes from Moshe Rabbeinu’s argument to Korach. Never is there a place to be jealous of someone else’s position or abilities; his honors or his talents. A unique and special mission was carved out by Hashem for each one of us, and true honor is due only one who fulfills that mission. One can be content with what he has and has no need to feel pressured by his peers. Each person must work only to maximize his abilities and fight the unique battles that Hashem has in store for him. It is enough to be yourself, and the reward Hashem gives to one who fulfills his potential is the same for everyone. A Gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss


Nahar U_Pashtei Parshas Korach 5781
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