Shabbat we bless the month of Tammuz and read the portion of Korach.
Korach was a Levi, Moshe Rabbeinu’s cousin. He led a rebellion against
Moshe and Aharon, challenging Aharon’s right as the Kohen Gadol (High
Priest). Hashem quelled the rebellion, and the rebels were either
swallowed by the ground or consumed by flames from heaven. Last week, we
read the narrative of the spies, who rebelled against Moshe and didn’t
want to go to Israel. Hashem punished them with miraculous deaths.
Seemingly, why didn’t Korach learn his lesson from the spies?
teaching gives a deeper understanding to the narrative of the spies. The
spies were great men, leaders, personally picked by Moshe. Having
witnessed the miracles of the exodus, why did they fear the inhabitants
of the land? Chassidut explains that their fear was not of the
inhabitants, but of the living in the land itself. In the desert, the
Jews lived a purely spiritual lifestyle, unhindered by agriculture and
business. They studied Torah all day, constantly witnessing the miracles
of Hashem. Upon entering Israel, this would cease. They would till the
land, harvest the fruits, and fulfill the commandments in their physical
sense, but lack the focus to feel spirituality. This was hinted in their
complaint “the land swallows its inhabitants.” Thus they preferred the
desert. Their error was that Hashem’s will is in the physical Mitzvah, a
person living actively in this world and subjugating the physical by
hearing this, Korach was inspired to rebel. If the main thing is the
physical acts, he reckoned, I am the same as Moshe and Aharon. In
spirituality, Moshe outdistances me: Hashem spoke directly to him and he
knows the depth of each Mitzvah. In action, however, we are equal.
however. Just as a person is a composite of a body and a soul, a Mitzvah
is a composite of a deed and its depth and meaning. The Zohar teaches
that a Mitzvah without intent (kavana) is like a body without a soul.
The intent serves like wings, raising the deeds to heaven. The deeds of
Moshe were the same as those of Korach, but they were imbued with the
fervor of one who had spoken to G-d. By connecting ourselves to Moshe,
Moshe’s light illuminates our Mitzvot. By separation from Moshe, the
actions lose their soul. This is also the significance of Tzaddikim
throughout all generations. The Tanya explains that the spiritual and
physical blessings of the generation come through the soul of the
the epitome of divisiveness. Divisiveness brought the destruction of the
Temple and unity will bring its rebuilding. May we merit the coming of
Moshiach speedily and to the universal peace he will bring.
In merit of Dinah Bat Tamar for a full and immediate
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