Torah Fax

Friday June 27, 2008 - 24 Sivan, 5768 

Torah Reading: Korach (Numbers 16:1 - 18:32)
Candle Lighting: 8:13 PM
Shabbat ends: 9:22 PM
Pirkei Avot: chapter 3

We bless the New Month of Tammuz

Staff Meeting

Korach, the Torah relates in this week's parsha, started a rebellion against Moses for having—in Korach's mind—arrogated the position of leader for himself and the High Priesthood for his brother.
Korach gathered a group of people around him and demanded that Moses not consider himself above the people who, after all, were all equally holy.
The Torah then relates how Korach and his closest cohorts and family members were swallowed up by the earth and 250 of his associates were burnt by a
heavenly fire.
In the aftermath of the tragic rebellion of Korach against Moses, the Torah relates how G‑d reinforced the position of Aaron as the exclusive High Priest. This was intended to quell any and every vestige of concern that Aaron had usurped the role of High Priest from other deserving candidates. This was done by having the prince of each tribe contribute a staff to the Sanctuary. The next morning Aaron's staff (representing the tribe of Levi) blossomed and bore a
lmonds. The other staffs remained the same as they were before. This was a clear demonstration that Aaron was G‑d's chosen one.
The last verse of this episode reads: "And Moses removed all of the staffs from before G‑d to all the Children of Israel. They saw [what happened] and each
[man] took his staff [back]."
The question has been asked, why does the Torah conclude that the leaders of each tribe took their staffs back? Who cares what they did with their staffs?Wasn't it enough that they saw the miracle that occurred with Aaron's staff and that their staffs remained the same as they were the day before? Didn’t they
see the proof from G‑d that Aaron was the chosen High Priest and no one else?
One answer is that each tribe has its own individual quality and purpose. Aaron's quality and purpose was qualitatively different in that he represented all
of the Jewish people and not just one tribe. He was the High Priest and therefore his role was much more universal, exalted and crucial. Korach and his cohorts were not content with their individual status. They wanted a more glorious and glamorous role; they coveted the position of Aaron.
After they realized that Aaron was indeed unique and that they were not destined to assume Aaron's role, the princes of the other tribes could have become
depressed. Their staffs ended up not having blossomed and changed. There were no beautiful blossoms or nutritious fruits coming out of their staff. Did this mean that there was no glory or value in their form of leadership? Was there no importance in leading and guiding an entire tribe of Israel?
Instead of this negative reaction, the tribal leaders realized that their individual staff may not be as glamorous as Aaron’s, but it was nevertheless their
personal staff. They realized that they had their G‑d given role that was intended for them specifically, and it was through this individual path that one fulfills one's purpose and life's mission.
The Torah thus states that each of then took their staffs. None of them declared: "Keep the staff; I don't care for it. If I cannot be the head honcho like
Aaron, I don't want any part in leading this nation." They humbly accepted the fact that though their responsibility was more limited in that they only had the task of leading an individual tribe, it was nonetheless their G‑d given mission – and they accepted it wholeheartedly.
As we approach the Messianic Age we must realize that while there is one leader – the Moshiach – whose staff blossoms and produces fruit – every one of us
has to appreciate that their individual role, while not overtly exciting and glamorous, is nevertheless what will make the ultimate difference and "push us over the top" into the Messianic Age.


Moshiach Matters 

We say in our daily prayers: "May it be Your will... that the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) be speedily rebuilt in our days, and grant us our portion in Your Torah"What is the connection between these two requests?
When the Beit HaMikdash is rebuilt, we will see the fulfillment of the prophecy, that "strangers will stand and pasture your flocks." And when that happens, every Jew will able to devote himself exclusively to the study of the Torah.  (From a talk of the Rebbe on Shabbat Parshat Re'eh, 5741 [1981]) 

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