פ’ קרח תשע”ז
Volume 19, Issue 6
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
“And Korach took… (16:1)
The Midrash Pliyah asks what did he take? He took truth”. What does the Midrash mean? The roshei teivos of אמת stand for אליצפן, מקושש, תכלת. It was regarding these three matters that Korach started the machloket. Elitzafan – as Rashi says, that Korach believed he should have been chosen as nasi before Elitzafan. T’cheiles – as the Midrash says, that Korach asked is an article of clothing that is made completely out of t’cheiles require a tzitzit of T’cheiles on it. M’koshesh – Korach argued that Moshe had the m’kosheish killed against halacha. The parsha of tzitzit is placed between the parsha of the m’kosheish and Korach because it was about these matters that he was arguing. (Binat Nevonim)
ותפתח הארץ את פיה
“And the earth opened its mouth…” (16:32)
Hashem meted out three different punishments in this episode. As for Dasan and Aviram, “the earth opened its mouth.” As for the two hundred and fifty, “and a fire went forth from Hashem.” Regarding Korach our Sages say (Sanhedrin 110a) that he was burned by the fire and swallowed by the earth.
According to the Mikdash Mordechai, the different punishments are reflective of different types of guilt. The sin of Dasan and Aviram was the worst. Their complaint against Moshe was rooted in base in physical desires, such as what the Torah say (Bamidbar 11:5), “We remember the fish that we ate in Egypt.” Because they stooped low and were motivated by the material and the “earthly,” they were swallowed by the earth.
By contrast, the two hundred and fifty were spiritually on a much higher level. They were princes, “elite of the congregation,” and their complaint arose from their having a spiritual goal in mind. Therefore, their death was at the hands of Heaven – “a fire went forth from Hashem.”
Korach’s guilt was a mixture of the two. He succumbed to jealousy, and “earthly” and mundane type of sin, but he also was motivated by spiritual aims. Therefore, he was given both punishments. (Torah Anthology)
והנה פרח מטה אהרון לבית לוי ויצא פרח ויצץ ציץ ויגמל שקדים
“The staff of Aharon of the house of Levi had blossomed; it brought forth a blossom, sprouted a bud and almonds and ripened.” (17:23)
The staff sprouted blossoms and at the same time it bore ripe almonds. This was a miracle in it itself, for ordinarily, when a tree bears fruit the blossoms are long gone. What is the purpose of this miracle?
It comes to teach us an important lesson: the blossoms of kedushah, holiness will never wither and waste away. The “fruit” of a mitzvah is the doing of the mitzvah, the efforts that are expended in the preparation of the mitzvah as well as the sacrifices made on the path toward learning Torah are the “blossoms” that endure forever. This stands in sharp contrast to the physical world, where only the fruit of labor counts. Here, the “blossoms”, the design, engineering and manufacturing of a product are discarded once that product has been produced. In the realm of the Torah, efforts are blossoms that are cherished and last for eternity.
כל תרומת הקדשים…נתתי לך ולבניך…ברית מלח עולם הוא
“Everything that is separated from the holy things…have I given to you and your sons…it is a covenant of salt…” (18:19)
QUESTION: What is the connection between salt and the priestly gifts?
ANSWER: Some people, unfortunately, do not give tzedakah because they are reluctant to give away part of their wealth. The Torah, therefore, is telling us that tzedakah is like salt: it causes meat to shrink somewhat, but the preservative effect far outweighs the loss. Similarly, though on the surface it appears that one’s net value is shrinking, but in reality, thanks to the tzedakah, one’s earnings are preserved. (Vedebarta Bam)
ופדויו מבן חדש תפדה
“Those that are to be redeemed, from one month shall you redeem…” (18:16)
The Vilna Gaon once told his students: All 613 mitzvot are alluded to in the first parsha of the Torah – Breishit. One of the students then asked him: Where is the mitzvah of Pidyon Haben alluded to? Whereas the Gaon replied: It is alluded to in the very first word of the Torah, בראשית – בן ראשון אחר שלשים יום תפדה – a first son after thirty days you shall redeem. (Vilna Gaon)
Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnefeld tz”l would say: “The gematria of איש – honorable person – is 311, same as the word רעהו – friend. We see from this that only one who sees to the needs of another Jew, one who acts like a true רעהו, is worthy of being considered an איש. (Torah Tavlin)
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