(Numbers: 16:1-18:32)

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

(Pirkay Avot Chapter 4)

1. [16:3] “Why do you raise yourself above the congregation of God?”  Our tradition tells us that Korach’s sin was the fact that he was motivated by jealousy, even though his arguments had some merit. However, our tradition also values intellectual clarity. Why does Moshe choose to bring a sign from Heaven to contradict Korach, rather than arguing with Korach’s ideas?

2. [18:1]  “…correct the sin of the holy place… and correct the sin of the priesthood”.  Being involved in significant activities means that there will be sin involved. What type of sin is this and how could this apply to our daily lives?

3. [Haftara: Shmuel I 12:3] “…whose ox have I taken; whose donkey have I taken; whom have I cheated…?”  A religious leader must first and foremost be honest. Why can’t a religious leader be knowledgeable and inspiring and also be dishonest?

4. [Pirkay Avot: 4:4] “…Be very humble…”  On the one hand, a person should be very humble. However, the Talmud tells us that each person should also say, “The world was created for my sake”.  How can a person be very humble and also believe that he or she is the center of the universe?

5. [Pirkay Avot 4:27] “… Don’t look at the container, but rather, at what is inside…”  We are told not to judge a person by his or her appearance, but rather by who they really are. However, our tradition teaches us to show extra respect for all old people. Why don’t we judge old people by who they are, rather than the fact that they are old?

Commentary

While praying, listen to the words very carefully. When your heart is attentive, your entire being enters your prayer without your having to force it. 

–R. Nachman of Breslov, 1782-1810, Ukraine.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg

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