Parshat Korach

(Numbers: 16:1-18:32)
(Haftara: Shmuel I, 11:14-12:22)

1. [16:3] “All the people in the community are holy…” What is so bad about what Korach said? It sounds true.

2. [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?

3. [16:13] “Is it not enough that you brought us up from a land flowing with milk and honey…” Did Dathan and Aviram really believe that Egypt is a land flowing with milk and honey? Why did they say this?

4. [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, if it is so bad?

5. [Siddur] „Bameh madlikin…” In the Ashkenazi siddur, we say „Bameh Madlikin…”, which are mishnayot with very detailed laws of Shabbat. In the nusach Sfard siddur we say “K’gavna” which is a mystical piece about spiritual oneness. What kind of Shabbat atmosphere is the Ashkenazi siddur trying to create and what kind of Shabbat atmosphere is the nusach Sfard siddur trying to create?
Whoever says that my soul is torn, has told the truth. Of course it’s torn. It is impossible to imagine in our minds, a person whose soul is not torn. Inanimate objects are whole, but man has within himself conflicting desires, and there is always an inner war. The whole spiritual work of man is to unite his torn soul
with a great, elevated and all-inclusive thought which brings everything to a state of harmony.

–Rabbi Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker
And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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