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June 3, 2013 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Korah

This week’s portion is primarily about a rebellion against Moses by Korah, Dathan, Abiram and numerous unnamed persons. They are all swallowed up by the earth, burned by Divine fire, etc.

Now, of course, rabbis all over the world are mining the story of Korah for lessons. But before we even get to the demise of Korach & Co. we might want to ask ourselves: after the unfavorable outcomes suffered by prior anti-Moses rebels (including the mass slaughter of Golden-Calf worshippers, a plague or two here and there, and the death of the spies who dared to spread bad news in last week’s portion) why would anyone in their right mind mess with Moses?

Milgrom comes to our rescue, writing: “Demoralized by the majority report of the scouts and condemned by their God to die in the wilderness, the people are pschologically receptive to demagogic appeals…”  In other words, precisely because of all their suffering, people feel like they have nothing left to lose, like things can’t get worse.  And as a result,. they get cranky- thus creating another rebellion, which leads to another plague.

This story is relevant to us in our daily lives.  When I have a quarrel with another, I am occasionally tempted to think: “The heck with him.  Things can’t get any worse.”  But if I give in to the temptation to act on that instinct, I am ensuring that the problem will, in fact, get worse.



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