19 Jun 2015 Appreciating a Treasure
In this week’s Parsha, Parshas Korach, under the leadership of Korach, Dasan & Aviram, 250 men rebel against the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. The battle cry of the rebellion was “You have taken enough power for yourselves, Moshe and Aharon! The entire assembly is holy, and G-d is amongst them. Why do you raise yourselves up over the nation of Hashem?!” (Num.16:3).
A sequence of events in the Book of Bamidbar, with a common theme, emerges. R’ Soloveitchik zt’l teaches that in speaking lashon harah about Moshe, Miriam demonstrated that she did not recognize the segula quality inherent in her brother. Following the lashon harah of Miriam came the sin of the spies, who similarly did not recognize the segula quality of Eretz Yisrael.
Miriam did not appreciate the treasure that was Moshe, and the scouts did not appreciate the treasure that was Eretz Yisrael.
How can we apply this teaching of R’ Soloveitchik to the sin of Korach?
Perhaps we can propose that Korach did not recognize the segula, treasured quality of Korach! Korach was so concerned with what others had – his cousin Moses was Chief Rabbi and his other cousin Aharon was High Priest – that Korach did not appreciate himself. From the tribe of Levi and the family of Kehas, Korach too had an important task. His family was the bearer of the Aron Bris Hashem during desert travels. What a lofty job! What an important job! What a segula, treasured, precious job!
“Is this not enough for you, Korach, that Hashem has selected you from amongst the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Him, to do the holy work of the Mishkan…?”(Num.16:9) cried Moshe. For Korach, sadly, it was not enough.
In focusing on, and desiring, what others had, he did not appreciate what he had or who he was.
Hashem gives us all different tafkidim, tasks, in life. We are all entrusted with our own unique mission. Moses was not Aharon, Aharon was not Miriam, and Korach was none of them.
My friend is not I, I am not my brother, and we are not each other.
The sin, and subsequent downfall, of Korach lay in his inability to appreciate the treasure that he was.
We must, each one of us, recognize our own unique strengths, we must strive to bring our middos, kochos and abilities to fruition, and we must always appreciate the gadlus, the greatness, of being the best person I can be, as I serve Hashem and this glorious nation of Am Yisrael.
Wishing you all a peaceful and meaningful Shabos Kodesh,