Shabbat Shalom! – Korach

Image: An ominous cloud, an approaching storm (pixabay)

This week’s Torah portion is a challenge. It contains the story of Korach, the Levite who felt slighted by God and by Moses. The portion is difficult to read on many levels – it is a complex text with many problems for understanding and the end of it is emotionally charged for many of us. It is one of the most famous stories in Torah.

The story of Korach became a yardstick for judging human behavior:

“Any dispute which is for the sake of Heaven will ultimately endure, and one which is not for the sake of Heaven will not ultimately endure. What is a dispute for the sake of Heaven? This is a debate between Hillel and Shammai. What is a dispute not for the sake of Heaven? This is the dispute of Korach and his assembly.” – Pirkei Avot 5:17

Have I intrigued you?  Parashat Korach is Numbers 16:1- 18:32. For some ideas about interpretation, here are seven divrei Torah:

The Women Behind the Men Emerge: Take a bow, Ms. On ben Pelet by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

“He Stood Between the Dead and the Living” by Rabbi Lisa Edwards

A Lesson in Conflict Resolution by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

An Anti-Semite’s Delight by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs

Korach and the Un-Holiness of Racism by Dr. Shaiya Rothburg

Korach, Privilege, and Striving for More by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Claims and Flames by Rabbi Amy Scheinerman



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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

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