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


Deano Beano said...

I agree with that fully. Your costustume can be viewed as the tools that Hashem gave you to complete your task here. If you would have needed something else to "play your part" then He would have given it to you. If you don't have it, then it is not a necessity for your role.

knaidel maidel said...

Of course it's true... but easier said than done. It's hard enough to keep on reminding yourself of these things, let alone making them part of you.

Deano Beano said...

That is definitly a very valid point, but, the only way to make these things a part of you, is to keep on reminding yourself.

lifesgood said...

hi girlies i love this site its so amazing that we can talk about Torah online kol hakavod chavie
anyway i was just talking to a girl from sem this past year (06) and she was telling me that M"R didnt daven for korach because he deliberately separated from the klal and by doing that was proclaiming that he didnt want to be under M"R's leadership anymore then i remembered on shabbos we were talking about "al tifrosh min hatzibur" and the Rambam says that a person who generally doesnt agree with the kahal on all the community affairs and matters is going to be denied Olam Habah - now isnt that a scary thought?????????

knaidel maidel said...

Point taken, but I think we need to redefine "kahal" and "disagree."
I think what you're saying refers to a person who makes it his policy to disagree with everyone.
But I don't think that a person who tries to think independently, according to Torah of course, could be punished for that. Because the sad truth is that very many people in our community are highly americanized and besides they will believe anything they hear.

Basically what I'm saying is, who is your tzibur? And what would a person's motives be for separating from them? And what exactly did Rambam say? I'm not suggesting that you go digging through the Yad Hachazakah now, but this is something that should be clarified before you get too scared.

hgutt said...

Wow. I wish I had something really insightful to add... oh well. This blog thing is great for the ego- it makes the person posting think someone cares about what they have to say - fools! Wait a minute, aren't I posting somethi...

hgutt said...

I noticed last year that in Boray Nifashos we say "...rabos vichesronam." I asked Mrs. Glicksman why we would thank Hashem for our lackings. She asked me if I could lift 4x my weight, to which i replied "no". She asked if I would like to, to which I said,"ya that would be cool." She said an elephant can lift 4x its weight, would you like to be an elephant? "No." So you are lacking in the fact that you can't lift 4x your weight."Yay, I guess so..."(not sure where she's going with this). The fact that you cant lift 4x your weight means your a person, not an elephant. If you could you wouldn't be YOU! Hashem gives you what you need to be YOU, and if you didn't have exactly what you have, you wouldn't be you! Freaky, no?

knaidel maidel said...

dunno, gutt, I hear the point but that's an interesting way to present it! I mean, I think I can relate to the tools mashal better than the elephant: Let's say you have a carpenter, and he's really great, so you decide to surprise him one day by replacing his clunky old tools with the fanciest, most expensive on the market. Happens to be that the finest tools you can afford are a swiss watchmaker's... this is not a pleasant surprise because even though they're the greatest tools around, the carpenter can't do his work with them. Get it?

Yeah, I guess I don't want to be an elephant either, but that's a little besides the point.