Forethoughts and Afterthoughts.
Commentary on the weekly Torah reading.
In memory of Father, Yosef Ben Zelig.
March 25th 1911 - May 2nd 2008
In memory of Mother, Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh.
June 9th 1925 - April 16th 2003
In memory of Uncle, Moshe Binyamin Ben Tzvi Hirsh.
December 12 1929 - February 2nd 2010
In Loving Memory of Moreinu Horav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva Ner Yisroel
Korach (Numbers 16-18)
16:3 And they assembled against Moshe (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron) and they said to them, “You’ve had enough. For the entire congregation is holy and G-D is within them. Why then are you taking a position of leadership over the Congregation of G-D?”
16:32 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed then and their households …
16:33 And they and all that were with them dropped down into the void while still alive …
17:5 … and there shall no longer be (a group) like Korach and his congregation …
The Mishna in Avos (5:17) says: What is (an example of) a disagreement that is for the sake of heaven? It’s the disagreement of Hillel and Shamai. What is (an example of) a disagreement that is not for the sake of heaven? It’s the disagreement of Korach and his group.
The wording of this teaching is puzzling.
Hillel and Shamai had differences of opinions and both parties are named. However, Korach’s conflict was not between himself and his people. Rather, it was between himself and Moshe (Moses). It should have referred to the disagreement between Korach and Moshe/Aharon instead.
Some commentaries say that this wording alludes to the fact that there is always conflict in a group whose members are driven by self-interests.
Others say that Moshe’s name was not mentioned because he was driven by sincerity, selflessness, and truth.
Another commentary explains the difference says that the reason Moshe was not mentioned is because he tried to make peace.
We see from this commentary the importance of seeking peace, for had Moshe just defended himself and not sought to reconcile the differences, he would have been associated with the conflict even though he was a victim of Korach’s unjust aggression.