Parashat Korach: Numbers 16:1 to 18:32

For Shabbat, June 23, 2023

Korach, a Levite, is a man’s name, and this is the second word in the opening line of our Torah portion. Korach is a kinsman of Moses and Aaron. Chapters 16 and 17 describe his challenge to Moses’ authority to continue leading Israel in the desert.

This narrative which results in God taking Moses’ side and the destruction of the insidious Korach, serves to point up the importance of the Levites and the Kohanim. Korach challenges the authoritative position of the Kohanim, claiming that every person is “equal” in the eyes of the Lord. The priestly control of the proper worship and rituals devoted to the Almighty is eternal. No person, nor group of persons can challenge this authority. 

There is an old Yiddish expression, “reikh ve Koyrakh,” which means ‘rich as Korach.’  What is the real source of this expression? It derives from the unusual first verse of our Torah sedrah. “Now Korach, the son of Yitzhar….took…” and the verse is left dangling like a participle. An object is missing! What did Korach actually “take?” The Midrash teaches us he “took” to himself 250 followers to oppose Moses and Aaron. The word to “take” in Hebrew (‘la’kach’) also means to “buy.”  So Korach not only took men, he “bought” men.  That activity requires oodles of money!

Parashat Nitzavim-Va'yelech: Deuteronomy 29:9 to 31:30

Selichot Shabbat September 8, 2023 This Shabbat, proceeding Rosh Hashanah, includes two Torah portions for our reading. “Nitzavim,” is a…

Parashat Ki Tavo: Deuteronomy 26:1 to 29:8

Shabbat September 1, 2023 Our Torah portion addresses the time when the Israelites will settle in the land of Israel,…

Parashat Kee Tetzey: Deuteronomy 21:10 to 25:19

Shabbat 8/25/23 Our Torah portion continues the rules for the Israelites when engaged in warfare. “Kee tetzey,” when you go…