Torah Portion: Korach Numbers 16-18

HafTorah: I Sam. 11:14-12:22

This week’s Torah section is full of spiritual lessons for us. The main part of this Parasha concerns Korach and the rebellion led by him against Moses and Aaron. I want us to look at this rebellion in some detail and see what life spiritual lessons we can draw from it.

The question that immediately comes to mind is what could Korach and the others been thinking? They had all seen what happened to Natan and Avihu, the sons of Aaron when they offered strange fire. Here Moses was demanding the same of them. He said for them to take fire and put incense on it in the pans used by the priests and present them before G-d. They knew what would be the outcome of their challenge if they were wrong. And yet they went ahead. One thing we might learn from Korach and his followers was their unbending faith in what they believed. Now what they believed was dead wrong but they held on to it until their death. It calls to mind early believers in Yeshua who held on to their faith until they died. Is our faith as strong as theirs? Our question has to be, “Is our faith based on truth or like Korach on a lie.” I Peter 4:14-16 speaks of the fact that we may suffer, but let it be for our faith and not for any other reason. II Tim. 3:12, Rev 6:9-10 also shed light on this for us.

Korach suffered death because of his own pride and arrogance. When we suffer may we hold fast and may it be for our pure faith in G-d. Another thing we learn from this scripture is how to respond to an attack by another person. In Numbers 16:1-3 we read of the first charges brought by Korach against Moses. How did Moses respond? Numbers 16:4 gives us our answer. He fell on his face. How would I have reacted? I think there would have been a more robust response from me. So, what can we learn from Moses here? I believe that everything that happens to us comes from or is allowed by G-d. If this is true I expect Moses looked at this as not so much personal, although I am sure Korach meant it that way. But maybe Moses, while he was on his face before G-d, looked for what G-d was teaching him or clarifying for him. Then not as a reaction, but out of the clarity that came from his time on the ground, he got up and dealt with the situation in the correct way. This is really hard for me and I expect for some of you. When someone lashes out at me I want to respond by hammering back, defending myself. I believe if I could cultivate this attitude of Moses life would be less stressful and I would grow into a better example of what G-d has for me rather than constantly being tripped by the same emotional response each time. So, here I believe we see Moses dealing with this confrontation by Korach in the correct way because he understood there was something for him to learn in the situation.

Korach and the others were faced with the same choice to make – how to react to a situation that rubbed them in a way that exposed their weak areas. They chose the wrong response and paid for it with their lives. Their real problem was with G-d and not so much with Moses and Aaron. They were upset by the role G-d had assigned them. They felt slighted. Their ego might have been bruised. They made the wrong choice. Let us not make the wrong choice when things come into our lives that cause us to want to react impulsively without first falling on our face and asking G-d what are you showing me in this. What can I learn in what is happening to me?