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The Greater Good

By: Rav Rafi Rosenblum

In this week’s parsha, following the story about Korach and his rebellion, we read about the gifts that we are instructed to give to the Kohanim. Rashi (perek 18, pasuk 8) writes that since Korach came and disputed Aharon being chosen as the Kohen, Hashem then came and showed everyone that this was what He wanted by granting them the twenty four gifts that Kohanim get. I would like to suggest another connection between the story of Korach and the gifts given to the Kohanim, specifically the gift of terumah.

 ונחשב לכם תרומתכם כדגן מן הגורן - Your gift should be reckoned for you like grain from the threshing floor… The pasuk (18,27) is telling us about the mitzvah of terumah, which is technically just one grain, although most people gave 1/40, 1/50, or 1/60. Rav Chaim Mordechai Yaakov Gottlieb quotes from the Rebbe Rav Zisha that this pasuk is also teaching us a lesson in middos. Just like the obligation of terumah is on the entire crop, only one grain is chosen to be terumah even though it isn't any better than the other grains. It was just chosen. The same is true for human beings. If Hashem gives a person a position of importance or power, or if someone has a unique characteristic, they shouldn't think that they are better than everyone else. ונחשב לכם תרומתכם - your gift should be reckoned for you (you should view the gifts that Hashem has given us) כדגן מן הגורן – like grain from the threshing floor (like the piece of grain that is chosen for terumah). Just like that piece of grain isn't better than the rest, so too, a person shouldn't view themselves as any better than the next person.

This lesson, that just because we have something that makes us great (and we all have something that makes us great), or we have been chosen for a position of leadership, doesn’t mean that we are greater than other people, is something that Korach was missing. He was in it for himself and he thought that he should have been given the honor that Aharon and Moshe were given. He felt that he was greater than other people and that is why he should have been chosen. After he was punished, Hashem felt the need to remind everyone that their gifts don’t make them greater. That is why we have the laws of terumah following the story of Korach.

Let’s all use this time of the year to try to see the best in everyone and not to view ourselves as superior to anyone else. By doing so, we will increase our achdus and lead to the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash, Amen.

Shabbat Shalom.




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