Shabbat Korah

Friday, June 23rd Candles @ 8:11pm
Havdalah, June 24th @ 9:06 pm

Kiddush this week sponsored by Gilbert Cavaliero,
in memory of his brother Isaac ע״ה

Korach and his co-conspirators rebelled against Moses and Aharon, claiming that they were perverting religious authority and arrogating authority to themselves. “We know better” he and his co-conspirators said, “we are the rightful authority not you.” Indeed, they use words similar to those used by Moses himself several chapters earlier, when he said in response to Joshua “Don’t worry about my position. If only everyone was a prophet and the spirit of God was upon them.” And Miriam and Aharon both say “God has spoken to us too.” Korach says “All the people are holy and God rests upon them.” Who can argue with that?

Why then do we regard them as rebels who deserved punishment? In my opinion it is not whether their claim to holiness was right or not. But because they used negative, abusive language and arguments falsely, to support their claims. They were dishonest. Moses replies “Why are you complaining about me? I have not abused power or taken anything for myself.” He realized the holiness argument was just a cover for personal gain.

The Midrash says that Korach tried to claim religious authority, that he was more religious than Moses and understood Torah better. HaShem intervened on Moses’s behalf.

I think this is exactly what has gone on these past weeks with the furor over Rabbi Joseph Dweck. People claiming to be more religious have been accusing him of not being religious enough. They have besmirched him without justification just because he holds more open minded, inclusive views. And they are using religion as a cover for personal agendas and their own political gain. Just like Korach they will not succeed not matter what titles they have, because Hashem looks into a person’s heart and pays no attention to abusive words.