Torah Fax   
Friday - Shabbat June 26 - 27, 2009

Torah Reading: Korach (Numbers 16:1 - 18:32)
Candle Lighting Time 8:13 PM
Shabbat ends 9:22 PM
Pirkei Avot Chapter 4

Sleep On It 

Korach—the name and theme of this week’s parsha—started a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Korach was not happy with his role as a Levite and wanted to become a Kohain, a priest. Korach also argued that Moses and Aaron were elitists and that everyone was essentially equal, because G‑d was within each and every individual.
In response to Korach’s populist rebellion, Moses told him to wait until the morning when G‑d will notify them who is the one chosen to lead and who is not.
Commentators ask why Moses had to wait until the morning. Shouldn’t he have stamped out the rebellion as soon as it started? If Moses had G‑d on his side, why procrastinate?
Rashi’s explanation is that the passage of time from night to day was a stark reminder to Korach that G‑d has established borders and boundaries in His world. One cannot turn night into day or day into night. Similarly, Korach was supposed to understand that when G‑d divided the families of the Jewish people into different classes—Kohain (Priest) Levi (Levite) and Yisrael (Israelite)—it was a division that cannot be changed. Each class has its own unique responsibility and mission; and one cannot exchange it for another.
Another explanation cites the Talmudic statement that if you see a Torah scholar commit an indiscretion during the day, give him the benefit of the doubt that during the night he had reflected on his actions of the day and found them wanting. He then certainly did whatever it would take to make amends and atone for those sins.
Hence, Moses also gave Korach the benefit of the doubt. Korach was a scholar and a spiritual person notwithstanding his excesses. Moses was hoping that he would utilize the night to reflect and reconsider his actions. Alas, we are told Korach did not go to sleep. Instead he was agitating all night long, trying to influence others to join his rebellion.
A third more mystical explanation is given based on a tradition found in the Zohar that, ideally, when we go to sleep at night our souls disentangle and disengage themselves from our bodies and reconnect to their divine source. As a result, when we wake up, we wake up refreshed, not only in the physical sense, but also in the spiritual sense.
However, when a person’s day is filled with activities that are not “for the sake of heaven,” but driven by ego and riddled with the pursuit of glory and power, the salutary effects of a night’s sleep are not realized; on the contrary. The soul discovers itself trapped in the morass of the material world that defined its pursuits during the day. The soul tries to connect to its source but discovers that it cannot. And since the soul cannot extricate itself from its entanglement with the crassness of a material existence, it cannot be rejuvenated; it possesses less energy than the day before. The soul feels drained and uninspired.
Hence if one wished to determine whether their endeavors and ambitions are guided by their quest for more goodness and holiness or by an inflated ego, they would do well to wait for the morning. If they wake up with a fiery passion for and devotion to G‑d it indicates that their soul was energized during its nocturnal sojourn in the celestial spheres. If they wake up in the morning without exhibiting a keen interest to humbly fulfill G‑d’s commandments and a more intense desire to connect to Him, it might indicate that their souls never left their earthly prison. It is a soul in exile.
This then is what Moses had in mind when he told Korach to wait until the morning:
“Sleep on it. See if you have the same feelings for G‑d in the morning. If your intentions were indeed pure and holy, you will wake up refreshed and enthused about your own role as a Levite and your existing relationship with G‑d. You won’t look to rebel.”
Perhaps we can add a fourth approach to Moses postponing the showdown with Korach to the morning.
Morning represents the dawn of the future when all of the darkness that the world is presently shrouded in will disappear. Morning is a metaphor for the future Messianic Age, when everything will become clear and radiant.
Exile is Biblically compared to the night because exile is a time of darkness and confusion. It is punctuated by inconsistency and chaos. Redemption on the other hand is likened to the day because in that era we will see the reality the way reality truly is, not the perception of reality that governs our lives in exile.
When one is a hostage to the forces of darkness they begin to identify with it. They think the way their captors think as do hostages in the Stockholm syndrome. Not only do our lower functions become prisoners in exile, but even our mind becomes part of the exile experience.
How does one liberate oneself from this form of captivity? There are always ways of breaking out of physical shackles. An expert can pick any lock. But how does one extricate his mind from the prison it is in?
On a purely psychological level, if one is G‑d forbid a hostage and fears that they will begin to identify with his captors and their way of thinking, let them just imagine being in the future after having gained freedom and returned to their families and communities. Thrust yourself into the future and that will, at the very least, keep your mind and heart in the right place.
The same can be said about our need to liberate our minds and souls from the negative exile influences to which they are exposed. We must project ourselves into the future Messianic Age and imagine how life will be in the era of Redemption when G‑d’s presence will pervade the entire cosmos. When G‑dly light will shine on every aspect of life and we will clearly see things from a different liberating perspective.
Just by conditioning our minds to think in terms of the future—without, obviously, ever losing touch with the needs of the present—we will feel and become fully liberated; body, mind and soul.
Thus, Moses’ message to Korach was:
“Think about the morning; reflect on the future and how your entire perspective about yourself and your ambitions will change. This will hopefully help you divorce yourself from the idea of rebellion.”
One of the lessons from this episode that applies to us is that we must saturate our minds with “futuristic knowledge.” This is not a reference to science fiction but to the study of Torah; specifically the parts of Torah that deal with the future Messianic Age. By doing so, our minds will emerge from the darkness of night into the light of day.     

Moshiach Matters  

As both a genius and Tzadik, the Moshiach will see through the sham and hypocrisy of this world. Thus, the prophet foretold (Isa. 11:3), “He will sense the fear of the L-rd, and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, nor decide after the hearing of his ears.”
(The Real Messiah, by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan)
Moshiach - It’s a Jewish issue.
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