This week’s parasha is all about the rebellion that Korach, Moshe Rabbeinu‘s cousin, stages against him in the desert. Korach accuses Moshe Rabbeinu of appointing his own nearest and dearest as the leaders of the Jewish
nation, of placing himself and his brother Aharon HaKohein (the High Priest) on a higher level from the other people, and of demeaning the rest of the nation.
Following Korach’s accusation of Moshe Rabbeinu, Dasan and Aviram, two of the main instigators of the rebellion, are summoned to Moshe Rabbeinu. They refuse to come. Moshe Rabbeinu instructs Korach and his followers to prepare ketores, the incense that only the Kohen Gadol, High Priest, can bring. Korach and his followers will bring ketores as well as Aharon HaKohein. Whomever’s sacrifice is accepted is clearly the correct High Priest.
Korach and his followers listen to Moshe Rabbeinu‘s words and prepare the ketores. Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohein to separate themselves from these people, for He is going to destroy them. They pray to Hashem not to destroy the whole people for the sins of a minority. Indeed, Hashem tells them to have the nation separate from the sinners. Hashem opens up the earth and it swallows Korach, Dasan, Aviram, their followers, families, and possessions, alive. The rebellion numbers 250 men.
Hashem commands Elazar HaKohein, the son of Aharon, to create a covering for the altar, as a reminder to the people not to mess up their roles. The next day, the people complain that Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohein are killing the nation out. Hashem wants to punish the people but Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohein pray and act to end the plague that starts to hit the people. Aharon HaKohein brings ketores and stops the plague which kills 14,700 people!
The people are still upset, so Hashem goes about proving that Aharon HaKohein is the proper Kohein Gadol with various signs. This is followed by commanding the Kohanim, priests, in their roles. Then the Torah speaks about the gifts that the people give to the Kohanim and the Levi’im.
“חכמת נשים בנתה ביתה ואיבלת בידיה תהרסינה
Chochmas noshim bonsa beysa v’iveles b’yadeha tiharsena
The wisdom of a woman builds her home, and a foolish woman, in her hands destroys it.”
This is an oft-quoted verse in relation to the story of Korach. Before the rebellion, Korach drafted men from throughout the Jewish people to join in his fight against Moshe Rabbeinu. One of these men was Ohn ben Peles. The day before the rebellion, Ohn came home to his wife, very excited about the revolution that he was going to be part of the next day. Ohn’s wife was horrified. “You’re going to fight against our leader, Moshe Rabbeinu?!” Ohn’s wife convinced him that it was not a good idea and wouldn’t serve him any good.
The next day, when Korach’s men came to get Ohn to join the rebellion, Ohn’s wife sat outside their tent to protect her husband from being pulled into this evil plot. Miraculously, she was successful in saving her husband’s life, as well as the rest of her family.
In contrast, the main proponent behind Korach’s rebellion was none other than Korach’s wife. Upon his return one day from the Mishkan, Tabernacle, where he was learning about his service as one of the Levi’im, Korach’s wife began to deride Moshe Rabbeiniu and Aharon HaKohein and their leadership. From these comments sprouted the whole rebellion and destruction that Korach caused to himself and the Jewish people.
This is the power of a woman. If she is righteous, she can turn her household to the good. And if she does the wrong thing, she can influence her family and those around her for the bad.
Our power as Jewish women is tremendous!!
Listening to my learning partner talk on the phone about Driver’s Ed!
Gut Shabbos!! Wishing all of our readers a fantastic summer!!!