Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Parshas Korach

Korach is a study of how envy can lead to major destruction. Envy is a result of a person's comparing himself to someone else. How can we avoid falling into this fatal trap? The key is to stay focused on your goal and realize what you are worth.

When a person is focused on the goal of bringing nachas to HaShem, he is happy when any person does mitzvos. Such a person will not only strive to be an exemplary eved HaShem, but will help others towards that goal regardless of where he is holding. When a person is motivated by his own desire for honor, then he wants to do it all himself.

This seems to be the main problem in Korach's dispute. While he claimed to want to serve HaShem on a higher level, in reality, says Rashi, he desired the honor of priesthood. Instead of feeling happy when his cousins performed the divine service, he was envious of their position.

We can view this world as a play in which every person has a specific role. In order for everything to work out, each person only needs to do their part. An actor being paid to play the part of a bum is not going to get a higher rating for acting like an executive - in fact, quite the opposite. He doesn't even mind having been given a lowly part because he realizes that this is not an insult to him; rather it is his mission. So too a Levi does not perform the service of a Cohen, and he is not "settling" by only fulfilling that which is set out for him to do. Play your part with pride and don't worry about the costumes other people wear. They are with you in the ultimate goal of serving the Almighty.

Based on Growth Through Torah (Pliskin) and The Shmuz (Shafier)

And now a little "Chassidishe vort," if you will:
We say in the Aleinu prayer, "Bashamayim mima'al, ve'al ha'aretz mitachas." You can view this as a reminder that in matters of spirituality (bashamayim) you should look towards those who are above you (mima'al) so that you can strive to emulate them, and in physical matters (al ha'aretz) you should always look at those who have less than you (mitachas) so that you will appreciate what you have and not be jealous.
As heard from Rabbi Y. Oelbaum