Friday, June 11, 2010

Parshat Korach by Naftali Kassorla


This is one of my favorite parts of Torah because, like most people, I really like it when the good-guys win.  

This story really should be on the big screen.  It has everything!  Passion, scandal, dispute, and a WOW ending when Hashm opens the earth to swallow the bad-guys whole!

It is also a parshat that speaks to our times.  We are constantly confronted by those who would try to find fault in Torah rather than looking to understand it.  When we are confronted by such an attitude, we must follow Moshe's lead.

We must trust entirely in Hashm and Hashm's laws.  When something in Torah appears not to make sense--it is not because Torah is flawed, it is because our understanding of Torah is flawed.

This week, I am featuring a Dvar Torah by an upcoming star in the Torah World, Naftali Kassorla.  

He comes from a long line of great rabbis, and I think you might enjoy his insight.  

L'Dor V'Dor!


Parshat Korach
By Naftali Kassorla

In this week's Parsha is the episode of the rebellion of Korach. One of Korach's points of contention was that Moshe was fabricating laws under the guise of HaShem’s name.

The Medrash Tanchuma explains that Korach brought two challenges to Moshe Rabbeinu. Korach and his followers stood before Moshe and asked the following questions: is a garment made entirely of Techelet) still obligated in tzizit? And does a house filled with Torah scrolls require a mezuzah on its door post? When Moshe replied with the correct answer that a garment made entirely of techelet is indeed obligated in tzitzit, and that a house full of Torah scroll does need a mezuzah, Korach and 250 heads of the nation mocked him.

They claimed that this was completely illogical. How can one string among many white strings exempt a garment, while many blue strings cannot? And how can a one scroll exempt a house full of many scrolls? From the laws’ lack of logic, Korach and his followers deduced that Moshe had manufactured these and other laws.

At first glance Korach’s conclusion seems faulty. We find in regards to other laws the concept called “chok”- a law beyond human comprehension, for example the laws of the Parah Adumah, or Kashrut. These laws are beyond our understanding. While one may give reasons or side benefits to these laws, we will never grasp the core reason for them. Therefore the question begs is that the very fact that the law does not make sense is the very proof that it was not Moshe who made it up. How do we understand Korach’s ridicule?

Perhaps we can understand better with the following explanation. Korach and his followers confronted Moshe with the argument that we are “Kulam Kedoshim” – we are all holy, we are all on the level of prophecy, our level of closeness to HaShem allows us to understand even the deepest of secrets. Their attitude was that if something was beyond their understanding then it must be that Moshe made it up.

Korach asked Moshe, “How could it be that we all heard G-d at Har Sinai and yet we cannot understand these laws?” They couldn’t fathom that their understanding was lacking, that there was such thing as a law that was beyond them. This arrogant approach was Korach’s mistake.

Many times we assume that we have complete understanding of a person or a situation. We cannot even imagine that our knowledge may be limited, that there is some piece of information of which we are not aware. When we think with this arrogant attitude like that of Korach, we can end up making very big mistakes.

May we all strive to be able to accept our own limitations and achieve a humble approach all situations in life.

Shabbat Shalom

Naftali Kassorla

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