Korach: In Pursuit of Peace

          The portion of Korach features the rebellion of Korach and his cohort against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16). They complain that Moses and Aaron have unfairly usurped positions of power when in fact God has imbued all the congregation with holiness, and no individual should hold uneven sway over the others. Remarkably, we find that although vilified by Korach and his men, Moses and Aaron display utmost humility throughout the episode, and model for all generations how to pursue peace in contentious circumstances. Aaron, as a prime example, speaks not a word of rebuttal throughout this section, though certainly subject to heavy criticism from Korach and his mob. Aaron remains silent, understanding that to argue would only fan flames of malcontent, while Aaron only wished to pursue a path of peace. In fact, Jewish tradition calls Aaron, “Lover of Peace and Pursuer of Peace” (Avos 1:12). Even Moses, from whom the situation required a response, acts humbly. Moses attempts to mollify his adversaries with overtures of peace, reaching out to them, hoping they would reconsider their participation in this conflict, which Moses knew would end in his adversaries’ demise, though his attempts were rebuffed (Numbers 16:12). The stubbornness of Korach and his cohort, and their unwillingness to resolve their conflict peaceably, led to their downfall, while God uplifted those who walked humbly. May we absorb the lesson of this unfortunate episode in our history, and always choose the path of humility over hubris.

Based on Shla”h, Parshas Korach

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