For the week ending 17 June 2023 / 28 Sivan 5783

Parshat - Korach

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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Korach, Datan and Aviram, and 250 leaders of Israel rebel against the authority of Moshe and Aharon. The rebellion results in their being swallowed by the earth. Many resent their death and blame Moshe. G-d's "anger" is manifest by a plague that besets the nation, and many thousands perish. Moshe intercedes once again for the people. He instructs Aharon to atone for them and the plague stops.

Then, G-d commands that staffs, each inscribed with the name of one of the tribes, be placed in the Mishkan. In the morning, the staff of Levi, bearing Aharon's name, sprouts, buds, blossoms and yields ripe almonds. This provides Divine confirmation that Levi's tribe is chosen for priesthood and verifies Aharon's position as Kohen Gadol, High Priest. The specific duties of the levi'im and kohanim are stated. The kohanim were not to be landowners, but were to receive their sustenance from the tithes and other mandated gifts brought by the people. Also taught in this week's Torah portion are the laws of the first fruits, redemption of the firstborn and various laws of offerings.


Like Moses

“And Hashem said, ‘I have forgiven because of your (Moshe’s) words.” (14:20)

No one wants to make a wedding on the day that the gadol hador (the greatest rabbi of the generation) passes away.

But that’s exactly what happened to us. On the day of our daughter’s marriage in Jerusalem, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, the gadol hador, left this world in Bnei Brak. His funeral was large and long, as befits a great talmid chacham, which meant that all the eminent rabbis that we invited to officiate and participate in our wedding were left gridlocked in Bnei Brak at the time when the wedding was supposed to start in Yerushalyim.

What could we do? We started the wedding. A bride and groom must go to the chupa. When it came to the Sheva Berachot — the seven blessings bestowed on the newly married couple — we had no great rabbis to give the blessings, so we chose those nearest and dearest to us instead.

A thought passed through my head. I saw that my friends to whom we had given the blessings were genuinely touched. Now, eminent rabbis probably attend two or three weddings a week, and at each of these celebrations they probably receive the honor to recite a blessing. In a way, I wonder if this gives them the degree of happiness that I saw on my friends’ faces.

“And Hashem said, ‘I have forgiven because of your (Moshe’s) words.”

Moshe’s ability to create peace extended beyond the relationship of man to his fellow. Moshe was able to make peace between Hashem and man. Like Moses, Rabbi Edelstein made peace between secular and religious, between religious and very religious. Rabbi Baruch Dov Povarsky, Rabbi Edelstein’s successor as head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, wept as he said, “Not too many people can be compared to Moses. His humility, devotion and wisdom are a guiding light for generations to come.”

The humility and kindness of the righteous live beyond the grave. Even in his passing, Rabbi Edelstein gladdened the hearts of others.

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