Skip to main content

Korach / קֹרַח Overview: Follow the Leader!

Bnei Yisrael have been complaining all the way through the Midbar!

image But now, a large group, led by one man, Korach, brought the ultimate complaint: they thought Moshe and Aharon shouldn’t be the leaders of bnei Yisrael. Moshe was angry, but decided to let Hashem choose the men’s punishment. He told them to bring ketores, spices burning in a pan for Hashem, the next day, and see what would happen. Well, they all brought burning ketores in the morning, and Hashem made a neis: a huge mouth opened up in the earth and swallowed up Korach, his followers, their families, houses, and all their stuff.

This is very strange: Why did it swallow their possessions, their families and houses?

Imagine you won a wonderful new bike in a raffle. You’d feel so proud! You’d ride around, showing it off, bragging, and forget that some kids don’t even have bicycles at all. You might even forget that you won it – you might start to think you’re extra-special and deserve it more than the other kids.

We can use our “stuff” for mitzvos or aveiros: guess which Korach’s followers preferred?

Something else interesting and strange happened. Every follower of Korach who didn’t get sucked down into the mouth in the earth was burnt with fire and killed. But the copper pans they brought ketores on were not damaged. Hashem told Elazar, Aharon’s son, to flatten out the copper (soft metal can be pounded super-flat, almost like aluminum foil!) and lay it over the Mizbeach as a reminder of what happens if we don’t listen to Hashem and follow His chosen leaders.

Remember, bnei Yisrael are not always good about listening to these reminders…!

In fact, the very next day, all of bnei Yisrael came to Moshe and said, “why did you kill those tzaddikim?” They thought Korach and his followers were right. Hashem got very angry and sent a plague to destroy them, but Moshe sent Aharon out with ketores (good ketores, this time!) to save their lives. This is not the first time Moshe has had to work hard to save bnei Yisrael.

Even though they were saved from the plague, they still wonder who’s the right leader.

Hashem came up with a test that would prove, once and for all, who was the leader He’d chosen. Each Shevet (tribe) brought a dead stick of wood with its name carved on it and left it in the Kodesh HaKodashim overnight. In the morning, all the shevatim came to get their stick back… but something wonderful had happened to the stick of Shevet Levi, the family of Moshe and Aharon. It was blooming! But it was not just blooming in the regular way, with clusters of beautiful flowers…

Have you ever seen a tree with flowers? Have you seen a tree with fruit?

image Nature always works in order: first, a tree has buds, then the buds open into flowers, then the flowers fall off and turn into fruits. But when Hashem does things, He doesn’t have to follow this order. The stick of Moshe and Aharon did not just have flowers; it had flowers AND buds AND fruit at the same time! (The “fruits” were actually almonds. Most nuts are a kind of tree fruit.)

At last, Hashem has proven that Moshe and Aharon are the rightful leaders!

(do you think that means the end of the complaining in the Midbar…?)

Were bnei Yisrael the only ones still wondering all along who should lead?

We have already heard that Moshe was עָנָיו מְאֹד מִכֹּל הָאָדָם (“anav me’od mikol adam”/ more humble than any other person). Many great leaders don’t believe they are meant to be in charge (remember at the Burning Bush, when Moshe told Hashem he couldn’t lead because he wasn’t a good talker?). The greatest English writer, William Shakespeare, wrote in a play (Twelfth Night), that “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.”

Moshe and Aharon had greatness “thrust upon them,” but now everyone believes in them.

The kohanim have also learned that their job is a very serious business. They have seen that they can die if they don’t perform the avodah and bring korbanos and ketores properly.

I’m glad they’ve learned this, because big changes are coming in next week’s parsha…

I know nobody loves to leave comments these days, but if you use these overviews in any way, with or without your kids, it’s always more fun for me to work with feedback than to just keep typing into a vacuum… ;-)

Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po

Ancient Auction Secret: If Chinese auctions are racist, why do Jews love them so much?

Ah, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews.  You sure do love your Chinese auctions, don’t you? It seems that even in an era of political correctness, within certain circles, this term just will not die . And frankly, I’m mortified. I’m not Chinese, but I have family who is Chinese.  Some are Korean, as well.  I guess this makes us more ethnically diverse than many Jews, but I suspect most Jewish families are moving in this direction.  Still.  Even if we don’t know a single Chinese person, we should still stop calling it that. First of all… is it actually racist to call it a Chinese auction? I figured I’d let Chinese people decide.  But when I turned to Google to find out how Chinese people feel about Chinese auctions, what I found was mostly… nothing.  Silence.  I did find some debate (presumably among non-Chinese people) over whether it was too far in the direction of political correctness to refer to these as a “silent auction” or (as in some parts of the States) a “tricky tray.”  (Ok