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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Korach (June 21, 2014)
by Rachel Brumberg

THIS WEEK’S TORAH PORTION, Parashat Korach, was not easy for me. In it we read about the rebellion of Korach, Dothan and Abriram — all of whom question the authority of Moses and accuse Moses and Aaron of raising themselves above the Israelites and, therefore, treating the rest of the people as less holy than themselves. In response, Moses tells Korach and his followers, 250 people in total, to come to the Tent of Meeting the following day with their fire pans and incense offerings for the Eternal. The community does as Moses tells them; however, God questions their motivation. Korach and his followers bring their fire pans and incense to the Tent of Meeting, but while there, they gather with Korach, waiting to see him confront Moses and Aaron. This makes God want to annihilate them all instantly, but Moses and Aaron petition on their behalf. God acquiesces, and instead, God’s ire is turned momentarily to the houses of Korach, Dothan and Abriram. To prove that their punishment is something delivered by God and not something that a man like Moses could do himself, the earth opens up and swallows them, their households and their possessions. This strikes serious fear in the rest of the Israelites standing near them, and then God sends forth fire to consume the 250 men offering incense.

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