Korach 5779

korachWe learn this week about another difficult parsha in the Torah, the rebellion of Korach and his followers against Moshe Rabenu.  After Korach’s initial words, the Torah says: “Moshe heard and fell on his face.  He spoke to Korach and to his entire assembly, saying, ‘In the morning Hashem will make known the one who is His own and the holy one, and He will draw him close to Himself, and whomever He will choose, He will draw close to Himself.”  (Chapter 16, Verses 4 and 5)  In contrast to earlier instances when the people complained about specific problems, in this Parsha there is an outright rebellion against the leadership of Moshe and his brother Aaron. (Artscroll commentary)  What can we learn from this difficult incident?

Rebbe Noson explains that Moshe used the word morning specifically.  Moshe saw that Korach was very persuasive in his argument, so much so that most of the Jewish people were being swayed to follow him.  It seemed to those who were still supporting Moshe that it was impossible to stand up against him.  Therefore Moshe said: “In the morning Hashem will make known…”  Every day the truth overcomes falsehood, because every day Hashem renews in His goodness the act of creation, the sun rises again from the East, etc.  The main aspect of spiritual light is the truth, which is Hashem himself.  The morning light represents the light of truth.  Hashem is the essence of truth, as King David says: “Hashem is my light and my salvation…” (Tehillim, Chapter 27, Verse 1)  (Likutei Halachot, Laws of Kashering Vessels, 4th teaching)

Rebbe Noson adds in another teaching that sometimes there is a person who elevates himself and wants to lead the Jewish people, claiming that his intentions are pure; however, in truth, he is trapped by arrogance.  This was the case with Korach.  His argument against Moshe and Aaron stemmed from arrogance, he was jealous of their leadership and their greatness.  Therefore Moshe said to him: “In the morning Hashem will make known…”  Rashi explains that Moshe was saying to Korach, ‘Hashem made boundaries in His world, day and night, etc., and you want to turn everything upside down.’  Korach claimed that he had the best intentions of the Jewish people in mind, and he even accused Moshe and Aaron of arrogance, G-d forbid, as the verse says: “why do you exalt yourselves over the congregation of Hashem?” (Verse 3)  Therefore, Reb Noson says we need a lot of help from Hashem to distinguish the truth, to distinguish between darkness and light.  (Likutei Halachot, Laws of Tefillin, 6th teaching)

Korach was blinded by arrogance and falsehood.  Rebbe Nachman says in a very clear and powerful way in Lesson 51 in the first part of Likutei Moharan that lies are evil and they come from the side of impurity.  When a person lies they remove from themselves God’s providence, because as we learned above truth is the light of Hashem.  However, by living a life of truth and speaking the truth, Hashem’s divine providence is with a person entirely.  Truth is one of the attributes that Rebbe Nachman said everything depends on.

A major principal which I learned at the workshop Shakuf was opening up and sharing and telling the truth.  The whole truth.  The teacher there taught that when something is left in the darkness, that causes negativity and even evil to become stronger.  When we hide something from the past, an incident or a negative emotion, it doesn’t disappear, it just gets buried inside.  However, when we speak the truth we bring Hashem into the picture, and we shed light on things from the recent or distant past which we had kept in the darkness.  We feel a feeling of relief that we have returned this part of our past to the light of Hashem.  Many times we have a voice which says, ‘That part of your past, that incident you can never tell anyone!’  We never truly want to lie, we lie because we are afraid of what will be revealed when we tell the whole story or because we are afraid of facing a certain feeling.  There are things which we might be hiding even from ourselves.  However, the more that we work on being truthful and real, whether about our past or in the moment, so to the fears begin to fade away.  Part of the learning and personal development we experienced at the workshop was meeting with a counselor once a week for an hour, as well as participating in a one hour group meeting.  In these meetings the goal was to share in a real and open way about whatever was going on in our lives at the time, an issue, relationship or emotion that we wanted to work on, in order to understand ourselves better and what Hashem was trying to teach us.

In personal prayer and with the help of our spouse or a good friend, we need to practice being truthful and real.  It can be painful at times but this is how we return to the light of Hashem.  This is also how we really want to be- basking in the light of truth!

(The image is courteous of Chabad.org)

2 thoughts on “Korach 5779

    1. Thank you Moshe for bringing these teachings to light!
      As you teach us, keeping painful truths hidden, doesn’t eliminate them from our lives. Buried painful truths can unexpectedly come back and haunt us and come to light in more painful ways than if we would face them with the proper guidance of a teacher, counselor, or rabbi. The Almighty desires not the death of the sinner but that he atone, change his ways, does tshuva and be worthy of forgiveness. Painful truths can be transformed into powerful wake up calls to help us be our best selves. Shabbat Shalom!


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