Parshat Korach

(Numbers: 16:1-18:32)

(Haftara: Shmuel I, 11:14-12:22)

(Pirkay Avot Chapter 4)

  1. [16:3] “All the people in the community are holy…”  Rashi explains that “all the people” is referring to the whole nation, and this is the most common understanding of the story of Korach.  Rabbenu Bachya, however, explains that this phrase is referring only to the first-born males.  How is Rabbenu Bachya’s  understanding of  Korach’s motivation  different from Rashi’s understanding? How is the whole story different according to Rabbenu Bachya?
  2. [Haftara: Shmuel I 12:3] “…whose ox have I taken; whose donkey have I taken; whom have I cheated…?”  Shmuel is presenting his reliability as the religious leader to the people. Why does he mention his ethical behaviour rather than his prophecies or military success?
  3. [Haftara: Shmuel I 12:17] “…your wickedness is great in asking for a king”.  Why is wanting a king so bad? Why did God and Shmuel, nonetheless, appoint a king for the Israelites?
  4. [Pirkay Avot 4:4, 5]  [4:4] “…Be very, very humble”.[4:5]  “…One who learns Torah in order to teach, is given the opportunity to learn and teach.”  Teaching Torah is considered a very good activity—in fact it is a commandment of the Torah to teach what one knows.  It is also very important to be humble. Doesn’t teaching show a lack of humility? Isn’t a teacher giving the message, “I know, and you don’t know”? How can one be a teacher and be humble?
  5. [Pirkay Avot 4:17] “Greater is one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than all of the world to come. And one hour of bliss in the world to come is greater than all of this world.”  Which world is more desirable, this world, or the world to come?


[17:23]  “…the rod of Aharon, of the house of Levi, blossomed, and it put out buds and blossoms and ripe almonds”.

This was a miracle.  Blossoms fall away before the fruit grows. Why did the flower remain even after the fruit came out? In matters of spirituality, the efforts and the preparations toward the goal are as precious as the goal itself.  In fact, achieving the goal without working toward it and making efforts, is a deficiency in the whole spiritual activity. So here, the blossoms remained with the fruit to show the importance of the means to the goal, as well as the goal.

–R. Moishe Feinstein, (1895-1986, Byelorussia, USA.)

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

Comments are closed.