The story of Korach’s challenge to Moshe Rabbeinu’s leadership has many lessons.
- Most partisan attacks begin with raw jealousy.
- It is then enclosed in reasoning to enflame the masses.
- The complainer usually wants the same thing they’re railing against. In this case, Korach challenged the idea of there being a kohen gadol even though that’s exactly what he wanted.
- Korach knew he was doing something wrong, but (as Rashi says) since he saw through ru’ach hakodesh that Shmuel HaNavi descended from him, he erroneously thought he would be successful.
By and large, the false redeemers of society prosper by way of portraying themselves as one of the people, against real or imagined grievances. They propose a solution: give them power.
Socialism, for example, portrays the selfish human businessman as evil but conveniently ignores the reality that human beings at the head of governments are just as selfish. Moreover, those in government have significantly more power. Indeed, tens of millions of individuals have been killed in the name of Communism.
It’s interesting that religion and the belief in a Creator are reviled by these so-called revolutionaries. It’s as if they sense that any objective reality or moral code is squarely against their agenda.
This Shabbos marks the 25th yahrtzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the fearless defender and lover of the Jewish people. Many descriptions of the Rebbe have been given by the multitudes of people who met him: Exceedingly humble. Geonic genius. Man of great faith. Gentleman par excellence. But let’s focus on the following: In the entire four decades-plus of his leadership, he never took a day’s vacation—not one day. Every single day of every single week, he would come to his office in 770 Eastern Parkway to do his vital work of furthering Yiddishkeit amongst his chassidim and the rest of the Jewish people. Rain, snow, sleet, or heat wave, one knew that the Rebbe would be there.
He implored that we view ourselves not as single individuals but rather as representatives of all the Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust: Warsaw, Kiev, Radomsk, Otvotsk, Radin, Vilna, Munkatch, Lvov… We are not simply Chaim, Esther, Binyomin, or Chana. We are remnants of all previous generations and must feel a spiritual urgency to finish the task for which the Jewish people have been assigned: making Hashem felt in this physical world by doing small actions with cosmic results.
May this awesome day inspire us to focus on our next thought, speech, or deed, ensuring it be the one that tilts the scales in favor of redemption for us and the entire world.
Wishing you an inspiring Shabbos,