Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Korach II

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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 250 leaders of the nation to his side! Rashi tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu told Korach,[1] “We have only one G-d, one ark, one Torah, one altar, and one Kohen Gadol. However, you 250 men are all seeking the position of High Priest! I, too, would like that!” From Rashi’s words, it seems that Moshe agreed with them; he included himself with them. He allowed for the possibility of multiple High Priests. Even if he was 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[2] “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 Moshe; rather, it was against Aharon. They sought the office of Kehunah Gedolah.

Why was this position so important to them? They realized the tremendous 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 achieve the status of “holy of holies.” They had witnessed the 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, a meaningful Gimmel Tammuz, and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 18, Pages 187-189

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס


[1]. See Rashi’s comments to our Parshah, Bamidbar 16:6.

[2]. Parshas Yisro, Shemos 19:9.

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