This week’s parashah is Parashat Korach which is well known for Korach’s rebellion against Moses. Let’s take a closer look and see what lessons we can learn from Parashat Korach.
Parashah In A Nutshell
- Korach leads a rebellion against Moses
- The test of the staffs
- The establishment of the Levites as the rightful servants of Hashem.
Parashat Korach opens in the aftermath of the sin of the spies. The 40-year curse has begun and the Nation will be forced to wander in the desert until the adults who left Egypt, perish. The time is ripe for rebellion and it is non-other than Moses’ first cousin Korach that leads the rebellion.
Korah gathers all those who have a complaint against Moses: Datan and Aviram who want to return to Egypt, the firstborn who lost their special privileges to the House of Levi to Korach himself who demands the High Priesthood.
Dealing With The Problem:
Moses as a leader confronts the masses and responds with a masterful display which we need to take note of. He sizes up the problem and realises that there is not one complaint but numerous issues at play. There is no one answer that will satisfy everyone. He, therefore, divides the crowd and addresses each one according to their complaint. He allows for each faction to voice their demands. The first step of a good leader is to listen to his People.
5 Lessons Learned From Parashat Korach
What can we learn from Moses’ actions?
- Realize that just because people are complaining, it does not mean that they are complaining about the same thing. Seek to understand what the underlying problems are.
- Address the concerns with respect- treat the complainer as a person to be valued and listen to what the issue is. Often we project what we may think is the issue, only to realize that what we thought was the problem, either is not the problem or isn’t as bad as we imagined.
- Even if people insult you, be the bigger person and go to them to resolve the problem. Datan and Aviram accuse Moses of taking the People from the Land of Milk and Honey to die in the desert! This must have hurt Moses. However, Moses goes to meet with them to see if there is a way to move forward. Alas to no avail.
- Sometimes there is nothing that you can do. Moses tries to placate and calm the crowd. But they are so consumed with their beliefs, their delusions, and their anger, that they cannot listen to him.
- Not all members of the family should be held accountable for the mistakes of one. The tragic result of the rebellion is that Korach and his followers die. However, the sons of Korach survive. They hear what Moses is saying and separate from their father. An act that would save them. The sons of Korach would end up serving in the sanctuary and composing Psalms which are read today on a weekly basis. Their great-grandson is the great prophet Samuel who is mentioned as the equal of Moses and Aharon.
Parashat Korach, Tammuz and Av What’s The Connection?
Parashat Korach always falls at the beginning of the month of Tammuz. In Tammuz, we have the fast of the 17th of Tammuz that starts the 3 weeks of mourning which ends with Tisha Bav. The Rabbis taught that it was Sinat Chinam- causeless hatred that destroyed the Temple. Parashat Korach warns us, that when we don’t deal with issues at the outset the results can be catastrophic. Korach and destruction.