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Korach 5759

Korach (Numbers 16-18 )

by Kalman Packouz

Almost every single person I meet is looking for a meaningful and permanent relationship. Some have given up. Many are confused. Most put more thought into choosing a business partner than a spouse. (How many businesspeople look for a partner in a bar?) 50% of marriages in the U.S.A. end in divorce.

In this day and age a woman who is hesitant to commit to marriage is
called "independent"; a man, on the other hand, is considered to have a problem making a commitment. People live together for seven years, get married and end in a divorce within a year. Why? Or, after years together they get married and then she finds out that he doesn't want to have children. What were they talking about for all those years? It is very tough for people in this day and age.

In homes with a strong religious upbringing it is easier. A person seeking a spouse knows his own value system, goals, way of life -- now he or she only needs to find someone of the same background with chemistry. Opposites may attract, but the more in common, the stronger and easier the relationship.

So, in this day and age, what are people to do? First, a must read is Death of Cupid by Apisdorf and Braverman which clarifies what is love and how to find the right person. And now there is the "Love, Dating & Marriage" newsletter by Rabbi David Clyman who has taught over 8,000 people in his seminars on the topic. It's a monthly reality-check for both singles and marrieds; it presents strategies and solutions for successful relationships. Here is an interesting piece from his Personal Trainer Workout section on the importance of knowing your life direction and how it will affect your choice of the person you date ... or marry:

Commit 5-10 minutes a day over the next month to write down the following (trust me, there is nothing like doing this with pen and paper):

  1. Where do you see yourself in one, five and twenty years?

  2. Imagine you're 85 years old and looking back over your life. What
    would you like to say were your three greatest accomplishments?

  3. In your life-review, is your spouse a part of these achievements
    and in what way?

  4. Make a list of the things that you respect in other people. Which
    of these things would you like your spouse to have?

  5. Take some time and prioritize your list. Categorize your virtues
    into "make or break" relationship issues, important but not critical
    and "could do without but it's great to have."

  6. Read Gail Sheehy's book Pathfinders (Bantam 1981). What do you
    think about the Ten Hallmarks of Well-Being (chapter 2)? Discuss some
    of her findings on your next date. Use it as a way of measuring how
    thoughtful and life-directed your date is.

  7. Discuss your life direction and goals with the person you are
    dating. Use this compatibility factor as a measure of judging whether
    he/she is the "right one."

You can order a year subscription for $19.95 to: EJEG, 840 West End
Avenue, Suite 3C, New York, NY 10125 or you can call for a free copy
to check it out in greater depth -- (888) 410-0630.

Portion of the Week

This week's portion is exciting! There are two rebellions. First, Korach, a Levite who was passed over for the leadership of his tribe, challenges Moshe over the position of High Priest. No good rebellion can be "sold" as a means for personal gain, so Korach convinces 250 men of renown that they must stand up for a matter of principle -- that each and every one of them has the right to the office of High Priest (which Moshe had announced that God had designated his brother Aharon to serve).

Fascinatingly, all 250 followers of Korach accept Moshe's challenge to bring an offering of incense to see who God chooses to fill the one position. This meant that every man figured he would be the one out of 250 to not only be chosen, but to survive the ordeal. Moshe announces that if the earth splits and swallows up the rebels it is a sign that he (Moshe) is acting on God's authority. And thus it happened!

The next day the entire Israelite community rises in a second rebellion and complains to Moshe, "You have killed God's people!" The Almighty brings a plague which kills 14,700 people and only stops when Aharon offers an incense offering (thus demonstrating that it is not the offering of incense itself which kills (i.e.., the 250 followers of Korach), but the Almighty's decision upon those who rebelled.

To settle the question once and for all, Moshe has the head of each tribe bring a staff with his name on it. The next morning only Aharon's staff had blossomed and brought forth almonds. The people were shown this sign. Aharon's staff was placed in the ark as testimony for all time.


Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, "And Korach, the son of Yitzhor, the son of Kehas, the son of Levy, took ..." Why does the Torah take the time to tell us his lineage?

Rashi, the great French commentator, explains that the key reason for Korach's rebellion was his envy of his cousin, Elizaphan the son of Uziel, who was appointed prince of the tribe of Levy. Moshe's father was the first of four brothers and his sons were the leader of the Jewish people and the High Priest; Korach figured that since he himself was the firstborn of the second son, that he should have been appointed the Prince of the Tribe of Levy.

Envy is destructive. It prevents a person from enjoying life. If ones focus is on other's success and possessions, it will cause pain and lead to highly counterproductive behavior. No wonder that Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers 4:28, lists envy as one of three things which destroy a person (the other two are lust and desire for honor).

To overcome envy, focus on what you have and what you can accomplish
in this world. The ultimate that anyone can have in this world is
happiness. The secret to happiness is focusing on what you have.
And if you are happy, you won't envy others!

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