Va’eira 5775-2015

“The Measure of Brotherly Love”

Why does Scripture delve into the genealogy of Moses and Aaron with such detail?

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Korach 5771-2011

“The Preciousness of Peace”

Because of the focus on the viciousness of the rebellion of Korach and his cohorts, few recognize the tireless efforts of Moses and Aaron to dissuade the rebels from rebelling and save them from destruction.

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Korach 5770-2010

"And Behold the Staff of Aaron had Blossomed"

What is the point of the staff that blossoms, the new sign that G-d employs to prove Aaron's leadership? After all, there have already been three very definitive proofs confirming the leadership of Moses and Aaron.

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Korach 5768-2008

"Datan and Abiram: The Protagonists"

Datan and Abiram, two members of the tribe of Reuben, are caught up in the rebellion of Korach and are swallowed along with Korach when the earth opens. The Midrash sees Datan and Abiram as the paradigm of effrontery, rebellion, and brazenness, the ultimate ingrates who devote their lives to undermining Moses and the authority of G-d.

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Chukat 5767-2007

"The Excesses of Rationality"

Parashat Chukat, which features the obtuse law of the Red Heifer, comes hard on the heels of Parashat Korach, the rebellion of Korach and his cohorts. The Midrash portrays at least part of Korach's rebellion as being due to his demand that everything be understood and completely rational. Chukat comes to teach that it is not the opinion of the people that determines the truth of Judaism, but rather the opinion of G-d, Torah and Moses--even though it may not be rational, such as the Red Heifer.

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Chukat 5765-2005

"Moses gets Battered by the Commentaries"

The tragic episode of Moses hitting instead of speaking to the rock at May Meriva is one of the most difficult and enigmatic in the Torah. The commentators struggle mightily with this Torah portion. As a result, many sins, mistakes and transgressions are attributed to Moses and Aaron. Are they justified?

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Korach 5763-2003

"Korach's Rebellion: Why is the Jewish Community Losing So Many of its Best and Brightest?"

According to rabbinic tradition, Korach was a great Torah scholar who went astray because of jealousy. But Korach was only the first of many great Jewish minds and personages who walked away from Jewish tradition. Perhaps the story of Korach can help clarify for us some of the root causes of Jewish apostasy.

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Korach 5762-2002

"The Origin of the Big Lie"

According to the Midrash, Korach was a brilliant provocateur who was able to convince the hordes to believe that he was rebelling for the sake of the common folk, instead of for his own personal benefit. By drawing a distorted caricature of the mitzvot of the Torah, Korach was able to convince the people that Moses and Aaron were personally benefitting from the mitzvot and observances that they were advocating.

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