> Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > A Life Lesson

Don't Disguise Your Ambitions

Korach (Numbers 16-18 )

by Adam Lieberman

In this week's Torah portion, a group of Jews, led by a man named Korach, rebelled against Moses. Like Moses, they also wanted to be leaders of the Jewish people. But instead of stating this as their real desire, Korach positioned his argument against Moses himself and his inabilities by declaring to Moses that:

"...It is too much for you!" (Numbers 16:3)


Instead of being genuine in his desire to be on the same level of leadership as Moses, Korach first shifted his entire angle. He began his claim against Moses by making the point that the job Moses had of leading all Jewish people was simply far too much of a task for him to take on by himself. Therefore, Korach reasoned, other Jews should also hold prominent leadership postings.

One of the problems with his argument is that it wasn't at all how he felt. Korach was simply jealous of Moses and the claim that it was too much for him was of no concern to Korach at all.

In our own lives, many times we unfortunately act the same way Korach did. We will disguise our real reason for wanting something. Instead of taking ownership of why we want something, we choose to make it about someone or something else. The reason we do this is because we feel insecure and lack the self-confidence to be totally honest, and therefore we don't have the courage to say what we're really thinking. Besides being disingenuous, the problem with this approach is that it will stifle you from growing and becoming great.

With Korach, not only was his strategy wrong, his entire motivation was based on a desire to destroy Moses. Let's focus for a moment on our own need to 'say it straight.'

For example, assume you want to be promoted at work. The right thing to do is to go to your boss and state the reasons why you - on your own merit - feel that you should be promoted. Unfortunately, what people often do instead is march into their boss's office and immediately start stating all the problems that exist. They might say, "I feel my division is in real trouble and those in charge, while very nice people, just aren't doing a very good job. And as we experience more growth in the company, it will certainly be too much for them. Therefore, I should take their place." (At this point, many people also throw in "I spoke to many people in my department and they all agree with me and they would love for me to become their new boss.")

It's certainly much easier to highlight a problem that others are doing and become the savior to all concerned. But again, you can never grow as a person if you don't stand up for what you believe in without knocking others in the process. Anyone can point out faults. But true leadership means looking solely at your abilities and why you have what it takes to make a difference.

The next time you want to make any sort of change, take full ownership of what you want to do and the real reason why you want it. You might not succeed in your request, but one thing is for certain. And that is when you have an authentic and honest approach change is guaranteed to take place - because as a person, you will grow by leaps and bounds.

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