Torah Portion: Korach (Numbers) B’Midbar 16-18
Haftorah Reading: I Sam. 11-12
Tonight we read the Torah portion Korach. We read of a rebellion led by the cousin of Moshe. A rebellion led by a talented and gifted orator who could have done so much to help but instead fell into the trap of following his illusions. Rather than clearly seeing G-d’s hand in what was transpiring with the people of Israel, he believed his own hype. I want us to look at this Torah portion and find G-d’s direction for our own life and discover ways to not fall into the trap of Korach and his followers.
Do we sometimes ignore reality and give into a dream of what we believe is right or what we want reality to be? First let’s review what has transpired in the life of these people who, just a short time before, were living as slaves. We have seen that each time they felt vulnerable they lashed out at Moshe and G-d. “Why did you bring us out here to die when we had a good life in Egypt?” One advantage of them being a slave was that each day was the same. They had no decision to make. You had a role and you lived each day as the day before. Not so now. Now there were new challenges each day. Then came the sin of the scouts and even the hope of entering the Land was lost for an entire generation. Now the hope of entering the Promised Land was gone for them. Only their children would see that dream fulfilled. So the people sank into deep despair. This despair caused them to lose sight of the fact that Moshe was G-d’s leader for them and this opened them up to deception.
Korach enters the picture. He was a man who saw himself as the one who should be leading Israel and not Moshe. He looked at the past events as an indication of Moshe’s failed leadership. He seized the opportunity. He no doubt, was a skilled orator and his slogan made sense to the disheartened people. “All the people are holy” So his following grew quickly. Rather than being a help for Moshe he exploited the times to catapult himself into becoming the leader. Instead of support, he believed his own illusions and it ended in his own death and the death of those whom he had manipulated and led astray.
Each of us is presented each day with a choice to follow G-d or to follow our own ideas of what we think or feel is truth. We can turn to our own ways or hold on, no matter what swirls around us, to the fact that G-d is in control. In the chaos we see around us, He has a role for us to play, to build up not to tear down, to love and not hate, to forgive and not hold on to anger and mistrust. Our challenge is to not be distracted from our role by the angry voices we hear around us but to listen for that still small voice that is and must remain our anchor and rock. Every action we take in our life, even in a religious setting, must be confirmed by the Father as being right for us. We should never take on things just to satisfy someone else. G-d is our head, our leader, our king. There is no other. Korach and his followers lost sight of that and in the process lost their lives, both spiritually and physically.
What can anger do to us? Let’s look at two other players in our portion, Datan and Aviram. These two men fell into the rebellion against Moshe and Aaron. We read in Numbers 16:12-14 their list of issues they had against Moshe. In addition they felt so strongly they even refused to meet with Moshe. What was the reaction of Moshe? He got angry (verse 16) but what did he do with his anger? He went to the Father with it.
Anger is an emotion that, if not dealt with correctly, will cause us to fall into sin. How do we often deal with anger? We can get into a verbal battle with the person with which we are angry. What results from that, nothing good, only deeper hurt that eats away at us.
Or our perspective can be, “Why am I angry. What did this problem touch in my life that caused me to respond as I did?” That is really the correct way to deal with such an issue. If we believe that G-d is in complete control then the only conclusion we can come to is that He has allowed this in our life to challenge us, to grow, to change, to mature. We grow through those things that cause us to react or touches some area of our life or our emotions that triggers an automatic response. I pray that each of us will be able to grow and not get stuck in a place that blocks our opportunities to move closer to the Father.