Torah Portion: Korach  Numbers 16:1-18:32

HafTorah: I Sam 11:14 – 12:22

Let me start with a couple of verses from Genesis 1:6-13. In these verses we read about the second and third day of creation. What is missing in day two? G-d does not say it is good. Why? One reason might be that there was a division on the second day. However on day three what do we read? He said, “It was good” twice. Here the earth and water reconciled the division by bringing forth life.  I think we can see this in Korach and even in the New Testament. When was Yeshua resurrected? It happened on the third day and that resurrection brought forth spiritual life that we are still experiencing and will continue to experience.

Now here in Korach we see also the division that was brought about by this rebellion. This division brings death to the camp. But the result is eventually life for Israel.

Now to the verses of Korah: First Korach in Hebrew means ice. We could see the implications of this meaning. Also what did Korach take (16:1)? In Hebrew it does not say he took men. In fact it is left hanging. Maybe he tried to take power and authority or maybe he wanted more spiritually.

So what was Korach thinking? What had happened a few weeks earlier? Nadav and Avihu did more or less the same thing as what Moses is asking of Korach- to bring incense before the L-rd. Korach was the great grandson of Levi. He was not just some regular guy. These men were 250 leaders – men of renown. They knew the rules of G-d. They knew what would be the likely outcome of their actions. Rashi even calls them wise men. As such they knew this was a suicidal mission.

During the second Temple period in the Roman Era the High Priest position was sold to the highest bidder. Yet in most cases this proved fatal to the person who sought such a position. So why would people continue to pay a lot of money to acquire a position that could well end in their death? When they entered the Holy of Holies to offer incense before G-d, they didn’t come out alive – because only the G-d appointed High Priest could do this. So why did they do this?

A possible answer: have you ever felt the pull to pursue a spiritual call or experience to the point of risking everything? Have you ever been so moved or inspired by something that you are willing to trade everything in an effort to attain what you are seeking? So maybe, that was the urgency that drove both Korach in his day and the men during Rome’s rule to seek the post of High Priest. Maybe they wanted that closeness to G-d’s presence enough to risk their lives. Seeing a chance for this divine intimacy, these men made a run for it.

My point in this is that when our faith becomes a comfort zone as opposed to a road to true spiritual connection with the Father we have lost something. Our faith must be more than a code of ethics or a self help exercise. It must always be a walk on the spiritual path to G-d – an elevation of spiritual over material guided by G-d’s word for sure. And this is where Korach missed it and so can we.  To close, “He who has nothing to die for has nothing worth living for.