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Torah Reading: Korach (Numbers 16:1 - 18:32)  
Haftorah: Shmuel I 11:14 - 12:22     
Pirkei Avot: Chapter 3 
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 8:12 PM 
Shabbat ends: 9:22 PM 
Another Setback
The Jewish people’s 40 year sojourn in the desert was ostensibly a punishment for rebelling against the Land of Israel in the spy saga recounted in last week’s parsha.
Upon deeper reflection, these 40 years were crucial to the maturation of the Jewish nation. Every setback was actually a lesson how to overcome the many reverses that we would experience in the future and enable us to reach our final destination: the Messianic Age.
In this week’s parsha we learn of another setback: the rebellion against Moses and Aaron launched by their distinguished cousin Korach. As we will see, this rebellion provides us with an invaluable lesson on how we should view Torah, Moses and Moshiach.
Korach rebelled against Moses and Aaron’s leadership and coveted their position for himself. In order to gain support, Korach sounded like a populist leader solely concerned with equality. Korach thus said to Moses and Aaron: “You’ve made yourselves too important!  For the entire congregation are holy and G‑d is with them. So why have you made yourselves elite over G‑d’s assembly.”
A question has been raised concerning Korach’s populist argument. Korach was an extremely intelligent person. How could he have demanded that he should be appointed to high positions with a straight face? Korach’s argument was transparently disingenuous. He argues for total equality and yet he wants to be in a position of leadership!
Another question: What precisely did Korach have in mind when he said, “For the entire congregation are holy and G‑d is with them?”
Rashi explains: “All of them heard the words from the mouth of the A-mighty at Sinai… You were not the only one who heard at Sinai, ‘I am G‑d your L-rd;’ The entire congregation heard.”
This too is difficult to understand: How could Korach possibly suggest that the congregation was equal to Moses? While everyone heard G‑d utter the first two of the Ten Commandments, only Moses heard the others directly from G‑d. Moreover, the Jewish people themselves begged Moses to transmit the other commandments to them because they were too frightened and overwhelmed by G‑d’s voice. How then could anyone entertain the ludicrous notion that they were equal to Moses? 
The First Two Commandments
To answer these questions we must first understand the difference between the first two commandments that the entire Jewish nation heard directly from G‑d and the other eight (as well as the balance of the 613 Biblical commandments transmitted through Moses).
The first two commandments, “I am G‑d Your L-rd…” and “Do not have any other g-ds…,” are expansive statements. They contain all of the commandments and, hence, all of Judaism. The first commandment is the source for and the root of all the positive commandments.  The second commandment is source and root of the negative commandments. As the Alter Rebbe explains in his classic work, the Tanya, that when a Jew is aware of G‑d’s presence and grasps that nothing truly exists outside of G‑d’s power and light, he or she cannot possibly transgress any of the commandments because that would be a repudiation of G‑d’s unity.
The rest of the commandments (and all of Judaism’s laws, ethics, philosophy, mysticism, etc.) are contained in the first two commandments, just as a seed contains the entire structure and future of the tree which sprouts from it.
When we compare the value of these first two commandments, those that we heard directly from G‑d, with the other commandments that we heard through Moses, we can detect a qualitative difference between them. The first two commandments are all inclusive, containing infinite information. The other commandments appear to be limited to their specific role and objective.
Korach thus viewed the role of Moses as necessary but not fundamental. To him, all Jews share the core of Judaism and attachment to G‑d equally. G‑d’s fundamental commandments (“I am G‑d Your L-rd…” and “Do not have any other g-ds…”) were heard by all Jews equally. In that regard they were equal to Moses. In Korach’s estimation, Moses and the rest of the congregation were essentially the same—they all shared the essence of Torah, which is one and inseparable from G‑d’s essence. To be sure, he was willing to concede that Moses’ role of explicating, detailing and extracting their meaning was an important function but one he considered only of secondary importance. Even if Moses deserved credit for his teaching the details, Korach argued that he did not deserve the status of a transcendent leader.
Korach, however, did not stop at that. Our Sages reveal that Korach accused Moses of making up the laws! Korach’s astonishing accusation came from his erroneous belief that the specific laws Moses revealed were based on Moses’ personal understanding. Moses, to Korach, was no more qualified to extrapolate from the common source than anyone else, and, indeed, in some instances he felt that Moses distorted the Torah.
Korach the Divider
Korach erred egregiously in this matter. Not only is the core of Judaism derived from G‑d and revealed at Sinai, but every minute detail of the Torah—from the basic laws to the most minute nuances—were given by G‑d at Sinai. Moses was endowed with the ability to touch the core of the Torah and G‑d’s essence; G‑d also empowered him to translate the details of the core and essence.
Korach was a divider. Indeed, the very name Korach, which is cognate to the word for baldness, is related to the idea of division, the way a bald spot separates two sections of hair. It is telling that Onkeles and Rashi both translated the opening verse of parsha “Vayikach” as “he separated himself.”
Korach artificially separated the first two commandments from all the others; he denied the fundamental linkage between the core and the particulars. If Moses could interpret the Torah according to his own understanding, Korach reasoned, so then could every Jew apply the Torah in his or her own way. Korach argued that G‑d’s imprimatur was only on the essence of Torah, i.e., the first two commandments and not on the other eight (or the 613, for that matter).
“The mouth of the Gevurah
This analysis might account for the unusual expression Korach used when he referred to the fact that all the Jews heard the Torah from the “mouth of the Gevurah-A-mighty.” Why refer to G‑d as “the Gevurah” as opposed to the more common names for G‑d mentioned in the Torah? 
In light of Korach’s desire to separate the core of Torah from its details, we can begin to understand why he chose this name. Gevurah is associated with G‑d’s ability to separate the upper waters from the lower waters on the second day of Creation. Korach appropriated this attribute and misapplied it to his Torah dispute with Moses.
Korach accepted the idea that great intellects have a right and obligation to interpret the Torah, to flesh out the particulars implied by its general statements and inner core. Korach, however, felt that no one could claim that his interpretation was more authoritative than any other intellect’s interpretation. To put it baldly, Korach challenged the Divine truth of Moses’ teachings.
Korach was swallowed by the earth in punishment for asserting his belief. The punishment was “measure for measure.” Just as Korach tried to “bury” the truth of Moses’ Divinely directed transmission of the commandments, so too was he buried alive. His body was thus “separated” from the rest of society.
“Moses is true and his teachings are true.”
According to the Talmud, Korach and his cohorts have renounced their opposition to Moses and now repeatedly declare from their place of punishment that “Moses is true and his teachings are true.” Truth can be recognized by its consistency. Korach alleged that Moses’ explication of the Torah was inconsistent with G‑d’s essential wisdom.  The emphasis of his confession is therefore that, in fact, there is no separation between Moses’ teachings and the G‑dly truth of Torah.
Korachs of History
Throughout our history, Korachs have tried to separate the rabbinical laws from their Biblical counterpart. This is despite the fact that the Torah itself authorizes the rabbis to transmit, interpret and legislate. As a consequence, their teachings are no less Divine than those of Moses. To be sure, there can be differences between rabbinic law and Biblical law. For example, when there is doubt concerning a Biblical prohibition, the rabbis have ruled that one must follow the stricter interpretation. In the case of doubt concerning a rabbinic prohibition, by contrast, one may take the more lenient position. However, these differences were anticipated by the Torah itself.
Similarly, the Korach obsession with separation extends to those who seek to separate the inner mystical dimension of Torah from the external legal teachings.
Moshiach Removes Dichotomies
One of the qualities ascribed to Moshiach in Tehillim-Psalms is emes-truth. Moshiach epitomizes truth because like Moses before him, he does not recognize a dichotomy between the Biblical and rabbinical or between the esoteric and the exoteric. Moshiach, Maimonides writes, will restore the integrity of Torah. This suggests that Torah will not be viewed as a fragmented work of differing levels of importance. Moshiach will instill the recognition that all segments and dimensions of Torah—despite their outward “garb”—derive from one Divine communication at Sinai.
More specifically, Moshiach will reveal the essence of Torah as has never been revealed before, and establish for all time that there is no separation between the essence of Torah and the particulars. Indeed, the Rebbe, in a historic essay (On the Essence of Chassidus), explains that the test to determine if we are connected to the essence of Torah is the degree to which it extends to and is manifested in the particulars. The Rebbe explains that we must prepare for this Messianic phenomenon by bringing the teachings of Chassidus (which are a foretaste of the esoteric and essential teachings that will be revealed by Moshiach) to the most remote of places. This includes taking the lofty spiritual teachings of Chassidus and translating them into a meticulous observance of all of the commandments.
Moshiach Matters
The Midrash (Tanchuma, Nitzavim) states: "Israel will not be redeemed until they become one assembly." King David's Psalms end with the words, "All the soul will praise G‑d," using the singular for the word "soul." The message is, "If all of us are united as one soul, with one heart, one goal, one dream, then we will eventually bring all of the Jews to say, "Praised is G‑d."