Torah Study

sefer torahWeekly Torah Study is Saturday morning at 9. We meet in the Room 202 of Temple Brith Kodesh (enter by Door A).  We decide year by year how we’ll approach the weekly portion.  Last year we used the weekly d’var Torah from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks as a jumping off point.  This year, we’re going to consider each parsha from a Mussar perspective.  Each week an email is sent out (usually on Thursday) to anyone who may be interested.  You’re welcome on Saturday, whether or not you got the email or had time to read it.  Discussions are generally lively.

Parshat Korach

The fox and the lion

Bamidbar 16:1-3
Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth – descendants of Reuben – to rise up against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty Israelites, chieftans of the community, chosen in the assembly, men of repute. They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and the LORD is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the LORD’s congregation?”

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Talks on the Parasha
The disputes until now have always been with outsiders, and Moses can basically relate to them with equanimity. Korach, however, is not an outsider …

The Torah emphasizes that Korach is a clan leader among the Levites, Moses’ and Aaron’s tribe. He is joined with “men of repute.”

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Talks on the Parasha
the claims put forward by Korach and his followers … are much more far-reaching than any other claim advanced against [Moses] thus far. … the complaints, for the first time, do not relate to a practical problem but to a fundamental religious question. … [The previous complaints about food were] an instance of infantile behavior, not reflective of any deeper problem. …

Given the catastrophe of the previous parshah, does Korach’s complaint have merit? What is the basis of Moses’ political authority or his ability to speak for God?

Rashi
But Korah who certainly was a clever (lit. open-eyed) man, what reason had he to commit this folly? His mind’s eye misled him. He saw by prophetic vision a line of great men descending from him [referring to Samuel and other descendants] … He said, “Is it possible that all this dignity is to arise from me and I shall remain silent (be myself of no importance)?”

Ramban
Jealousy, desire, and love of honor take a person out of the world. The reason for this is that possessing these three middos, or even a single one of them, inevitably causes a person to forfeit his emunas haTorah.

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe
This incident gives us an understanding of the hidden motivations that underlie our actions. Korach’s fight against Moshe stemmed from his feelings of jealousy, which generated his ideology regarding the mitzvos in general and the leader of the nation in particular. Additionally, he solidified his position with the prophetic vision of a great future. These three factors led Korach to take action against Moshe: 1) he had a philosophy; 2) he even had “proof” that he was right; yet 3) it was all rooted in a negative trait – jealousy.

The same three factors often compel us to act, as well. We might have ideas and ideals, and we might even have proof that we are following the correct path, but we must always realize that these ideas or actions are borne of our character traits. Before acting, and certainly before taking drastic measures, we should take time to think about the real impetus for our thoughts and
deeds. If they are rooted in positive traits – kindness, compassion, and so on – then we know we are truly on the right path. However, if we suspect that they might be rooted in negative traits – jealousy, hatred, craving for honor, and the like – then we are befter off admiftng our faults and refraining from acting on them.

In fact, a person must be especially careful when he acts “for the sake of Heaven,” because he might think that the truth of his cause gives him license to do as he pleases.

Can you think of examples of bad behavior that were rationalized? Why are religious conflicts particularly dangerous in this regard?

How do you develop the insight to recognize your own rationalizations? Do you have to do it all by yourself?

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Torah Study Archive

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The fox and the lion
June 14, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The spies of Moses carrying grapes
June 7, 2018 by Office
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cucumber salad
May 31, 2018 by Office
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Samson
May 24, 2018 by Office
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desert
May 17, 2018 by Office
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May 10, 2018 by Office
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vineyard ready for harvest
May 3, 2018 by Office
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April 26, 2018 by Office
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April 19, 2018 by Office
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Two priests are destroyed
April 12, 2018 by Office
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Fire
March 22, 2018 by Office
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March 6, 2018 by Office
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The Tent of Meeting with the cloud hanging over it
March 6, 2018 by Office
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Apis bull
March 1, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Garments of the Priests and Levites
February 22, 2018 by Office
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The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
February 15, 2018 by Office
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Cartoon image of one woman whispering into another's ear. The listener has wide eyes.
February 8, 2018 by Office
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The giving of the Ten Commandments
February 1, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The parting of the sea
January 24, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Slaves building pyramids
January 19, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Darkness fell on Egypt
January 11, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Moses at the burning bush
January 5, 2018 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jacob giving his blessing to his descendants
December 28, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Latest News, Torah Study
Joseph reconciles with his brothers
December 22, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Joseph interprets Pharoh's dream
December 14, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Joseph dreams of wheat
December 8, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jacob wrestles with the angel
November 29, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jacob and his sheep
November 24, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Isaac feeling the hands of Jacob on his deathbed.
November 16, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Sarah and Eliezer at the well
November 9, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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November 2, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Lech Lecha
October 26, 2017 by Office
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October 5, 2017 by Office
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Mother donkey and foal
August 31, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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August 24, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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August 17, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God? Micha 6:8
August 10, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The Golden Calf
August 3, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The fall of the second temple
July 27, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The Israelites Encamped at Mt. Sinai
July 20, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Daughters of Zelophead
July 13, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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July 7, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Moses striking the rock
June 29, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
desert
June 23, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
grasshopper
June 15, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
gossip
June 9, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Samson slayed 1000 men
June 1, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
woman begging
May 18, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Leaving the corners of the field
May 11, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
You should be holy, for I, the Lord Your God, am holy. Leviticus 19: 2
May 4, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
isolated figure
April 28, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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April 21, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Priest at the altar
April 13, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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April 6, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Calm path with side-lighting
March 31, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The Mishkan
March 26, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The High Priest
March 10, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Crossing the Reed Sea
February 9, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The second plague of Egypt
February 2, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Parshat vaera
January 26, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Moses and the daughters of Midian
January 20, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jacob blessing Joseph's sons
January 12, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Joseph reveals himself to his brothers
January 5, 2017 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Joseph interprets Pharoh's dream
December 29, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Joseph's coat being shown to Jacob
December 22, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jacob meets Esau
December 15, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jacob deceives Isaac
December 8, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Burial of Sarah
November 25, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Abraham's tent
November 18, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Lech Lecha--Going out
November 16, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The drunkenness of Noah
November 3, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Jealousy, by Edvard Munch
October 27, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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October 13, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
The Israelites ready to cross into the promised land
October 5, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Sunset over a valley with a meandering river
September 29, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
birch bark showing the shape of a heart
September 14, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
Your word is hour bond, so take them seriously
August 17, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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August 17, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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July 7, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study
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June 30, 2016 by Office
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sparrow pelted by snow
June 30, 2016 by Office
Filed as: Torah Study