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RABBI CHAIM LOBEL הרב חיים לובל

This week is Parshat Korach
Candle Lighting 8:11 PM NYC DST 6/24/11
Rabbi Chaim Lobel – Young Israel of Aberdeen, NJ
www.yiaberdeen.com




 

Leadership – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)

Korach was about to challenge Moses' leadership. As Rashi (1040 – 1105) explains, Korach was jealous that Elizaphan, son of Uzziel, was appointed by Moses as prince of the family of Kehas, the son of Levi and one of the three families of Levite tribe responsible for maintaining the Tabernacle.

Kehas, the son of Levi had four children, Amram, Yizhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Moses, the leader of Israel, and Aaron, the High Priest, were the sons of Amram. By the rules of succession, Yizhar's oldest son, Korach, was next in line. Instead, upon G-d's command, Moses appointed Elizaphan, son of Uzziel, the youngest son of Kehas. Korach, jealous that he'd been passed over, challenged Moses' credibility as G-d's representative.

“Moses heard and fell on his face.” (Numbers 16:4) Rashi, based on Midrash Tanchuma (Compilation of Jewish Homiletic, 6th Century, Reprinted in Mantua, Italy 1563; Numbers 4), explains that this was Israel's fourth insubordinate act. First was the Golden Calf, then the complaints of the Manna, and then the spies slandering the Land of Israel causing upheaval the Jewish people would actually be able to conquer the mighty Kings living in Israel. Korach's rebellion was the fourth episode and Moses became weakened and had little strength to pray on Israel's behalf.

Rashi compares this to a parable – On three occasions, the king's son acted shamefully. Each time, the King's friend successfully interceded with the king on the son's behalf. However, after the fourth occurrence, the son's friend lost faith the king would be appeased yet again.

In the parable, G-d is King, Israel is the son, and Moses is the King's friend. Yet, it's not a perfect parable because, in this instance, Moses wasn't only the friend, he was also the victim, the one being directly challenged and attacked by Korach and his cohorts.

Or maybe it is a perfect parable. Even while being attacked, Moses' sole concern was the children of Israel, the “King's son”. Moses never acted to defend his honor or sought to punish those who offended him. Like the friend in the parable, he pleaded with the king on the son's behalf, never his own.

As leader of the Jewish people and G-d's emissary, Moses had many justifications for defending the honor of his “office”. Yet he never did. His concern was only and always for the welfare of his people – the mark of a true leader.

Shabbat Shalom


 
   
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