This week’s Torah portion, Korach, tells of a rebellion against Moshe, and his brother Aharon. Korach was the one who instigated this terrible rebellion. Surprisingly, he managed to recruit two hundred and fifty leaders of the nation to his side! Rashi tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu told Korach “We have only one G-d, one ark, one Torah, one altar, and one Kohen Gadol. However, you two hundred and fifty men are all seeking the position of High Priest! I too would like that!” From Rashi’s words it seems that Moshe was agreeing with them; he was including himself with them. He allowed for the possibility of multiple High Priests. Even if he was just making a point verbally, how could he say such a thing?
We can understand this by explaining the answer to a different question. Hashem had promised Moshe that “they (the Jewish Nation) will believe in you forever.” In light of Hashem’s promise, how is it possible that 250 heads of the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish court, rebelled against Moshe? The explanation is that Korach and his band did believe in Moshe! Their rebellion was not against him. Their entire rebellion was against Aharon. They sought the office of Kehunah Gedolah.
Why was this position so important to them? They realized the great spiritual heights which only the High Priest can attain. They were aware that G-d had separated the Kohen Gadol from all other Jews; he alone would attain the status of “holy of holies.” They had witnessed that sin of the spies. They knew that prayer can annul a physical decree against the Jews. They thought that it might also cause them to attain a higher spiritual status.
That is why Moshe was able to tell them that “I too want that.” The desire to reach that sort of connection to G-d is something which is desirable! However, it is impossible; it cannot be. Just as “we have only one G-d, one ark, one Torah and one altar, so too do we have only one Kohen Gadol.
May Hashem help that we all strengthen our connection with the Moshe of each generation. May Hashem help us strengthen our connection with Him. In this manner we will all reach the greatest heights and bring Moshiach now!
Wishing one and all a good Shabbos and a good month!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 18, Pages 187-189
מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש
חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס
. See Rashi’s comments to our Parshah, Bamidbar 16:6.
. Parshas Yisro, Shemos 19:9.