Quarrelsome quorum quandaries
ולא תחללו את-שם קדשי ונקדשתי בתוך בני ישראל אני יקוק מקדשכם
Do not profane My Holy Name, and I will be sanctified amongst the Children of Israel; I am Hashem Who sanctifies you
A fundamental principle in Judaism is that declarations of holiness need a quorum. In other words, kaddish, kedusha, Torah reading, the Kohanic blessings, and the like, all require ten adult male Jews be present. The idea is that when we sanctify Hashem’s name, it needs to be done in a public fashion, with a minimum of ten men. How do we know this? A rather ironic source.
Continue reading “Emor 5783”
The danger of scoffing
וידבר אל-קרח ואל-כל-עדתו לאמר בקר וידע יקוק את-אשר-לו וגו’ זאת עשו קחו-לכם מחתות וגו’
[Moshe] spoke to Korach and his assembly, saying: “Tomorrow morning it shall be known who is Hashem’s…Do this: Take for yourselves firepans”
This week’s parsha details the rebellion of Korach. He challenged the leadership of Moshe and Aharon, convincing a group of the greatest sages of Israel to join his cause. Korach claimed that Moshe was making everything up. He claimed that Moshe was a false prophet. Moshe challenged this band of rebels to a test to determine who was the true prophet of Hashem. The next morning, they would all take firepans and put incense on them. Through this act of Divine service, it would become clear who was Hashem’s chosen leaders. The result was that those that banded with Korach were burned to death by their firepans, whereas Moshe and Aharon emerged unscathed. This validated their rightful place as the leaders of the people, and prophets of Hashem.
Continue reading “Korach 5780”
Two forms of scholarship
ובני קרח לא מתו
The sons of Korach didn’t die
This week’s parsha contains yet another census. The Torah lists all the different families by tribe, and states their total numbers. While detailing the families in the tribe of Levi, the family of Korach, who started a failed rebellion against Moshe, is mentioned. The Torah wanted to emphasize that although Korach’s children were part of his rebellion, they did not perish like their father did. Rather, they repented at the last moment, saving their lives. The gemarra relates that when their lives were spared, the children of Korach sang a song of praise to Hashem. What song did they choose to sing?
Continue reading “Pinchas 5779”
Keeping our loved one in mind
ויקח קרח וגו’ ודתן ואבירם וגו’ ואון וגו’ ויקמו לפני משה ואנשים מבני-ישראל חמשים ומאתים וגו’
Korach took [his tallis] …and Dasan and Aviram…and Ohn…they and two-hundred and fifty men from the Jewish people confronted Moshe…
This week’s parsha details the rebellion of Korach. He challenged the leadership of Moshe and Aharon, convincing a group of the greatest sages of Israel to join his cause. To kick off his rebellion, he took a tallis which was entirely dyed techeiles, a blueish color. Normally, only some of the tzitzis strings need to be dyed techeiles, but not the garment itself. He had two-hundred and fifty of his men wear a similar garment in front of Moshe. Korach asked Moshe: “This tallis, whose material is entirely colored techeiles, does it require tzitzis”? Moshe responded: “It does”. Korach rejected this ruling, and argued that if just some strings of techeiles exempt the garment, having the entire garment be techeiles should be more than sufficient. Therefore, there was no need for tzitzis in such a garment. Why did Korach specifically pick this topic to start his rebellion? As well, Korach wasn’t an ignoramus. He was an incredibly learned individual. How then could he ever think that such a tallis would be exempt from tzitzis?
Continue reading “Korach 5779”