top of page

Dvar Torah - Korach 5784

When Korach’s rebellion broke out, Moshe was confronted with a major challenge to his authority, led by Korach, Dasan and Aviram. Moshe first attempted to engage in a dialogue with Korach, but the Torah does not record any response from Korach. Undeterred, Moshe next summoned Dasan and Aviram. However, not only did they refuse to meet with Moshe, but their response “distressed Moshe greatly, and he said to Hashem, ‘Do not turn to their gift-offering.’” (Bamidbar 16:15). Seforno explains that Moshe refused to forgive their insult to him, and therefore asked Hashem to not accept any sacrifice from them and to not pardon them. This seems uncharacteristic of Moshe. The Torah earlier said that “the man Moshe was exceedingly humble, more than any person on the face of the earth.” (Bamidbar 12:3). What insult did Dasan and Aviram say that distressed Moshe, the most humble person in the world, to such an extent that he would even ask Hashem to not forgive them?

Perhaps we can gain an insight into Moshe’s reaction by examining their words. Moshe told Korach (Bamidbar 16:9) “Is it not enough for you that the G-d of Israel has segregated you from the assembly of Israel to draw you near to Himself.” Dasan and Aviram replied to Moshe’s summons: “Is it not enough that you have brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to die in the Wilderness?” (16:13). It appears that the exact words that Moshe used in his attempt to mitigate the dispute with Korach were used by Dasan and Aviram to attack Moshe. Moreover, Dasan and Aviram took the beautiful description of the land of Israel, flowing with milk and honey, and cynically applied it to Egypt. Moshe Rabbenu was מוחל על כבודו (he humbled himself) to engage in dialogue with Dasan and Aviram to pacify them, hear their grievances and prevent an open confrontation. However, Dasan and Aviram had no intention to participate in any productive discussion with Moshe. Not only did they refuse to meet with him in person, but they also responded with cynicism and sarcasm, hurling the words that Moshe used with Korach back at Moshe to ridicule him. We can now understand why Moshe was so distraught with them that he refused to forgive their insult.

There are many times that people have disagreements and disputes with others. In today’s world of social media and comments that are instantly communicated to millions of people, there is widespread proliferation of personal attack and invective dialogue. However, the Torah tells us that we must avoid the temptation for such cynicism and sarcasm. The very first pasuk in Tehillim tells us not to “join the company of scoffers.” (Tehillim 1:1). Rabbi Ḥanilai bar Ḥanilai says: “Anyone who scoffs causes extermination to be wrought upon the world.” (Talmud Avodah Zarah 18b). It is important to engage in discussions and acknowledge the grievances that others may have and avoid cynicism and sarcasm. We should be mindful of the harm brought about by Dasan and Aviram, and foster an attitude of respect for others and their views. In that way we can live a more harmonious life and contribute to bringing peace to all of our relationships and eventually to the whole world.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page