Parashat Korach: Mutiny
What do you do when you don’t like the Leadership in your life? Whether it be at work, in your synagogue, in your government, in the world etc, how do you act? In this week’s Torah portion, Korach, a man named Korach from the tribe of Levi decides he is going to lead a mutiny against Moses and Aaron. So, he riles up 250 high powered Israelite men, plus Dathan and Abiram, descendants of Reuben and confronts Moses and Aaron. He says to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the Lord's assembly? (Numbers 16:3)” He then continues to question their authority, going as far as to say that Moses has not even brought them to land of Milk and Honey. More so Korach questions what gives Moses and Aaron the power to lead them. In response Moses puts the decision of who will remain the leader in G-d’s hands. The rebellious Israelites also bring an incense offering for the Lord, as a way to try and persuade him. In the end G-d chooses Moses and Aaron’s leadership over Korach and his followers, and has the earth swallow Korach and his followers for their actions.
What can we learn from this story? What lesson is here? Korach questions leadership, and in his thirst for more power (Korach’s job was to help carry the Tabernacle, which is a huge honor in itself). So G-d swallows them up. I don’t think the lesson lies with wanting to make change, or standing up for yourself, but with how Korach led the mutiny. With how Korach questioned, and his inner motivations. With the way he and his followers treated Moses and Aaron. Even though people may not agree with one another, or even like one another. Even if we think we can do something, or know someone who can do it better. There is still a way we should treat each other.
Tonight at your Shabbat table, think about how you and the people around you treat others. Think about how they treat them when they don’t like how they do things, and want to make a change. We have the power to learn and be better than the people who have come before us. The earth does not need to swallow us whole for our actions. In the end how we treat others is how we truly create the world.