פ’ קרח – תשע”ה
Volume 9, 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.
ויקח קרח בן יצהר בן קהת בן לוי
“And Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi, took… (16:1)
Rashi explains that the key reason for Korach’s rebellion against Moshe was that he was envious of another relative who received honor while he did not. Envy is destructive. It prevents a person from enjoying what he himself has. When you focus on the success of another person and feel pain because of it, you are likely to do things that are highly counterproductive. Envy is one of three things that totally destroy a person (Pirkei Avot 4:28). The downfall of Korach was because of this trait. Not only did he not get what he wanted, but he lost everything he already had.
How does one overcome envy? The key is to focus on what you yourself have and on what you yourself can accomplish in this world. Envy arises when a person looks at others and compares himself to them. The ultimate that anyone can have in this world is happiness. When you master this trait by focusing on those things conducive to happiness, you need never envy another person. (Growth Through Torah)
בקר וידע ה’ את אשר לו
“In the morning Hashem will show who are His…” (16:5)
QUESTION: Why did Moshe postpone the verification until morning?
ANSWER: The manna had the unique quality of publicizing the true character of each person. For tzaddikim the manna fell in front of their door, ordinary people had to go out and gather it, while the wicked were forced to walk a distance to find it. Thus, when Korach said that all the people in the community were holy, Moshe replied, “In the morning Hashem will show.” By means of the manna He will prove who is right. (Rabbi Schiff from Torah Lada’as)
ותפתח הארץ את פיה ותבלע אתם ואת בתיהם
“The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses…” (16:32)
QUESTION: Earlier in verse 27, their abodes are referred to as “tents”. Here the Torah calls them “houses”. Why does the Torah describe them differently?
ANSWER: A tent is a portable temporary residence. A house connotes a permanent dwelling place. When the Jews were in the desert, moving from place to place, their homes were referred to as tents. However, once Korach and his followers were swallowed in the ground their tents became their graves, permanent resting places. Their places of residence were then called houses. (Imrei Shefer)
והנה פרח מטה אהרן…ויגמל שקדים
“And behold! The staff of Aharon blossomed…and developed almonds.” (17:23)
Rashi comments that Hashem chose almonds as the fruit that would prove Aharon to be the divinely ordained Kohen Gadol, because they ripen quickly. So too, all who raise objections concerning the Kehunah will receive their punishments quickly.
The letters of שקדים, almonds, can be rearranged to form the word קדשים, holy ones. Hashem used the שקדים to reveal whom He considered to be the קדשים. (Kol Dodi)
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