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Friday, June 26

The Weekly Shtikle - Korach

First, a belated Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my nephew, Yeshaya Shonek, on his marriage last week to Tzippora Munk.

This coming Wednesday, 9 Tammuz, is the 5th yahrtzeit of my sister-in-law, Batsheva Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Batsheva Blima, a"h bas HaRav Moshe Yosef HaLevi, ybl"t.


A simple observation and a simple question:

Both last week's and this week's parshios contain storylines apropos to a theme of the current situation. In Shelach, after the nation was informed that they would not be entering Eretz Yisrael as planned, a group of individuals, seemingly realizing the folly of their ways a day too late, attempt to change course and make a charge for the Promised Land. They are warned in no uncertain terms that it is too late and this maneuver is not the will of HaShem and will meet grave consequences. Unfortunately, they did not listen.


This week's parsha, of course, features the famous story of Korach and his rebellion. According to many understandings, at least part of Korach's campaign was driven by a genuine desire to come closer to HaShem through the priestly service. However, this role was not the destiny of Korach and his fellow Levites.


Both tragic stories feature a misplaced desire to establish a greater closeness to HaShem when this relationship is simply – and clearly - not the desire of the Almighty. This is a theme we can all relate to considering our having been banished from our shuls and batei midrash for so many months. There was a genuine yearning and urge to return but based on the direction of medical experts and rabbinic authorities, it was made clear that this is not the correct course of action and we were forced to wait patiently. Fortunately, the restrictions are easing in most communities and we are slowly returning to our shuls and minyanim, shiurim, and yeshivos are reconvening. May it only continue to trend in the right direction.




The Korach debacle is a very difficult episode to understand. The exact motivations and the precise nature of the conflict are somewhat mysterious. Much insight is gleaned not necessarily from the narrative but from various nuances in the dialog between the two sides. There is one statement, though, that I found particularly mysterious. Moshe pleads with HaShem not to accept their offering, (16:15) "for I have not taken a donkey from any of them, nor have I wronged a single one." This seems like a complete non-sequitor. Although Korach's group does challenge some of the decisions Moshe has made, it does not seem that they ever make any such egregious charges of criminal wrongdoing. What compels Moshe to make this statement?


Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Just do it!
Dikdukian: Flee Market
Dikdukian: Vayikach Korach

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