Parshat Korach 5784: Hashem’s Neisim Vs Iran, the Resultant Neisim of Korach’s Rebellion and Message for Today

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Korach is being sponsored by Pinchas and P’nina Klahr of Ramat Beit Shemesh and dedicated in merit for a refuah shleimah, good health, and nachat for P’nina’s mother Mrs. S. L. Weisenberg, and for good health and success in both physical and spiritual matters for their grandchildren, Matisyohu Natan and Pessia Tov, as well as for the safe return of all soldiers and the liberation of all remaining hostages — and salvation and true peace for all of Am Yisrael. To the Klahr family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt

Parshat Korach 5784: Hashem’s Neisim Vs Iran, the Resultant Neisim of Korach’s Rebellion and Message for Today

by Moshe Burt

This year’s vort on Parshat Korach is compiled having in mind two open Neisim, by the Yad Hashem which occurred recently — the Iranian attack on Israel which saw Israel’s air defenses negate all but a handful of rockets and UAVs which managed to reach Israel and the at least 50 % of the Iranian missiles which were launched toward Israel actually crashed or exploded in Iran, as well as the recent Iranian helicopter crash in the East Azerbaijan province in northwest Iran which took the lives of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

These two events, not to mention various infiltrations of Iranian nuclear sites which temporarily crippled their nuclear development, bring to mind the two great Neisim of our Parshat Korach; the swallowing up by the ground of Korach, Dasan and Aviram and the Moshe’s unilateral test of Korach’s assembly — the trial of the censers. And so, this vort will deal only with these two Neisim of our time and two of the Neisim resulting from Korach’s rebellion.

Torah records:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, ‘Speak to the assembly , saying, Get yourselves up from all around the dwelling places of
Korach, Dasan, and Aviram.'” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posuk 23 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

“So Moshe…. spoke to the assembly, saying, ‘Turn away from near the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything that is theirs, lest you perish because of their sins.'” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posukim 25 – 26 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

“So they got themselves up from near the dwelling of Korach, Dasan and Aviram, from all around….” “Moshe said, ‘Through this you will know that Hashem sent me to perform these acts, that it was not from my heart. If these die like the death of all men, and the destiny of all men is visited upon them, then it is not Hashem Who sent me. But if Hashem will create a phenomenon, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them them and all that is theirs, and they will descend alive to the pit — then you shall know that these men have provoked Hashem!” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posukim 27 – 30 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

“When he [Moshe] finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them [Korach, Dasan and Aviram] and their households, and all the people who were with Korach, and the entire wealth. They and all that was theirs descended alive to the pit; the earth covered them over and they were lost from among the congregation. All Israel that was around them fled at their sound, for they said, ‘Lest the earth swallow us!'” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posukim 31 – 34 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

“A flame came forth from Hashem and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense.” (Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posuk 35 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash)

The Artscroll Stone Chumash now cites Rashbam and Targum Yonasan on posuk 34 and provides discussion on the beginning of Perek 17 (page 827) :

“At their sound”, i.e., The cries of those who were swallowed up. (Artscroll Stone Chumash citing Rashbam) They screamed from the deep, “Hashem is righteous, His verdict is true, and the words of His servant Moshe are true. We are evil because we rebelled against him.” (Artscroll Stone Chumash citing Targum Yonasan) According to Mizrachi’s interpretation of Rashi, the sound was of the earth opening up and closing on the rebels.

Protest and confirmation. All major events should be sign-posts of the future, and to that end Hashem commanded that the remains of the tragedy should be used as a permanent reminder of that catastrophic error in judgement and failure of belief.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin renders to English Sefer Bamidbar, Perek 16, posuk 28 and provides discussion citing the Alshich in his sefer, “Growth Through Torah” (page 338) :

“And Moshe said, With this You shall know that the Almighty Sent me to do all these things, I did not make them up.”

Moshe goes on to tell Korach and his followers that they would soon die unnatural deaths (posukim 29 – 35). This might appear to be very cruel on Moshe’s part. To explain Moshe’s reaction, the Alshich gives the analogy of a doctor who sees a need to amputate a person’s hand or foot in order that a disease should not spread. Although this might seem cruel, it really is an act of kindness because it saves a person’s life. Similarly, Moshe saw that Korach’s rebellion was spreading and he had 250 followers already [even as the earth swallowed up Korach, Dasan and Aviram and their households and possessions]. In order to save the rest of the nation, Moshe, with his compassion for everyone else, had to use stringent measures.

True kindness at times will obligate… approaches that might appear very strict. But the key factor is always our motivation and the entire situation…. Using harsh measures when they are not absolutely needed is cruel. But failing to use harsh measures when they are the only approach available in order to help… is also cruel. The person who is truly kind will weigh each situation carefully to see what is needed. People who lack compassion use this concept as a rationalization to be cruel, which is very wrong. But misplaced softness also has negative consequences. Much wisdom and compassion are needed to apply the appropriate methods in each situation.

Recognizing the great Neisim which we have seen recently, it seems time for Israel’s governmental leadership and military high command to acquire Total Emunah in Hashem and his protection of Am Yisrael through the ages and thus to take drastic, yet ultimately kind steps of national hishtadlut for the sake, safety and security of kol Klal Yisrael.

This author wrote a response on this blog to a recent report which stated Minister Miki Zohar: Military Control of Gaza Will Result in Hundreds of Casualties:

The answer seems obvious: An alert and hubris-free, political agenda-free high military command which listens and acts on its subordinates warnings, channeling them up to the governmental echelons in order to mandate appropriate military actions in accordance with whatever the situation on the ground dictates. We are in a milchamat shel Torah and have been so since 1948. What this means is smashing the glass ceiling which prevents both dati and chareidi soldiers from advancing to officer ranks and which prevents them from advancing to high General positions in the military high command in the IDF based only on merit. Further, the only way of rebuilding Gaza is the restoration of our former Gush Katif brethren to the area so that they can rebuild the Gush Katif towns and neighborhoods, thus bolstering Israel’s agriculture as it was before they were expelled by force by the government in August, 2005.

May it be that our Chayalim, regardless of the machinations of their high command, emerge totally victorious — eradicating from the face of the earth Hamas, their terrorist buddies and the so-called “innocent civilians” of Gaza who joined with Hamas in their murderous deeds, that the Chayalim return home whole — physically, mentally and spiritually and that the Chayalim Liberate and bring home all remaining hostages. And may we see the restoration of true unity within Am Yisrael.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently re-settled in Gush Katif, once the IDF, by the Yad Hashem, destructs and eradicates the wild beasts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, all other terror entities, and if necessary Iran, and that our brethren be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them, that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Homesh be rebuilt, as well as the buildings of Yishuv Elchanan, all at total government expense. May our Chayalim return from battle unharmed — physically, mentally and spiritually and may all of the hostages brutally taken by the wild beasts of Hamas be liberated and brought home to their families. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now in his fourth year at home in Eretz Yisrael and continues in a new chapter in his life. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her spirit and memory continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nine years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we see, in 5784, the REAL Jews from the Ukraine and Russia as well as the US and Canada, the real Jews via matrilineal descent, make Aliyah enmass — via thorough review by Misrad HaPanim. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese Wuhan Lab corona virus pandemic and all like viruses and variants. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Chodesh Tov and Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.