Saturday, 29 June 2019

P. Korach - John Lennon, and Spiritual Anarchy

Guest Blogger - R David Joseph Mescheloff

«...Korach is the father of spiritual anarchy. Korach argues against all forms of spiritual authority and leadership, and against any proscribed role in the spiritual community. Korach aspires to create a society free from distinctions, borders and categories. We are all divine, and hence we are all one.»

[Apologies to John Lennon's lyrics from "Imagine" ]

Imagine. Imagine there was no Moses, no Aron, no Sanctuary, no Kohanites, Levites or Israelites, and no religious authorities too. It's easy if you try. And the Jews would live as one.»

Korach and John Lennon ::


Also see a related post
For more background -

NishmaBlog: P. Korach Ki Chol Ho'eidah
and below (there are comments at Nishmablog, though)

To be fair, John Lennon - unlike Korach - was apparently dreaming of a Utopian Society, somewhat analogous to our own Messianic Age, when no Yetzer Hara would prevail. Even we Torah Jews could imagine anarchy in that kind of society, when we are to become more "angel-like" but not in our current reality.


P. Korach - Arguments for the Sake of Heaven

«The argument was brewing for five minutes when they all began to smile and instructed me to say the prayer as I had planned. Before I continued the service I sauntered over to the old Shammash who was sitting quietly through the tumult and asked, "what is the minhag (custom) of this shul?"

He surveyed the scene and beamed. "This shul is 100 years old. This is our minhag."»

Drasha - Korach, 5756 -


P. Korach Ki Chol Ho'eidah

Originally published 6/24/11, 10:11 am.

Korach to Moshe Rabbeinu -
"Kee Chol Ho'edah Kullam Q'doshim uvtocham Hashem - umadua titnass'u al Q'hal Hashem"?

Rabbi EX [REX] to G'dolim such as R Moshe -
"Kee Chol Yisroel Kullam M"lumadim uvtocham Torat Hashem - umadua titnass'u al Klal Yisrael"?

Could it be that the Yeshivishe devotion to "g'dolim" and the Hassidishe devotion to their respective Rebbes a device to prevent
"Bayamim haheim ein Melech b'yisroel - eesh hayyashar b'einav Yaashe"? [Last verse of Sefer Shoftim]
And that it is better to submit to some authority figure -even if imperfect as opposed to having anarchy.


Parsha: Korach, "The Motivation of Torah"

This week's parsha is Korach. Why does one follow Torah, observe mitzvot, identify with an Orthodox and/or Jewish lifestyle? There are many possibilities.

This Dvar Torah, The Motivation of Torah, which we have selected from Nishma's Online Library, will present some thoughts and offer itself as a starting point for this discussion.


Mussar: P. Korach - the Symbol behind the Drash

Rashi quotes a Midrash or Aggadah about how Korach belittled Mosheh Rabbenu using

1 the Tallit shekulo T'echeilet
2 the room filled with Sifrei Torah

Korah makes Moshe's reasoning seem silly to require one more thread of T'cheilet for the Tallit - And to require 2 more Parshiyot for the room already filled with Sifrei Torah


While the story reads fine as is - many may notice the underlying symbolism and others may tend to overlook it.

The point of Korach's rebellion was madua titnas'u on K'hal Hashem? Meaning he advocated anarchy in order to dispose of the leadership whom he grew to resent due to the appointment of Elizaphan ben Uziel as per Hazal

Thus, the M'zuzah and the P'til T'cheilet are symbolic that EVEN a fully holy garment or room STILL needs a special symbolic "leader". And so, too, a K'hal Hashem - no matter how holy - needed a specific "p'til t'cheileit" or a "m'zuzah" anyway, in this case Moshe and Aharon.

This "chap" is not originally mine, but it is imho the key to reading between the lines of this Midrash for a further tremendous psychological insight of WHY Korach davqa picked these items to underscore his K'tatah.


Sunday, 23 June 2019

Parsha: Shelach, "Meraglim - the Parsha and Haftarah"

"On the other hand, whom did he pick? The successful merageil from last time around - Kaleiv ,  and a known zealot for Hashem - Pinchas.".
- Micha Berger, esteemed moderator of Avodah

True, this is a Midrashic approach.

Here is an alternative from Rabbi Wm. Cohen, the local Orthodox Rabbi when I was growing up. He darshens it thusly:
The meraglim in the parshah were bigshots. They were public figures who went "spying" with a lot of fanfare, and probably packed their egos too! Yehoshua learned this lesson. Regardless of the spies' names, they were sent privately. Their anonymity may have meant that they indeed traveled without their egos.
Beqitzur: This haftara represents both the tiqqun and the lesson learned.


The kushiya: why did Moshe send out public figures anyway?

The Hint: What verb(s) describes Moshe's agents?
  • In Shelach?
  • In Huqqat?
  • In Devarim?