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In Hashem's World, Titles Mean Nothing

By: Rav Jason Knapel

The Sha”dal asks an interesting question on the opening story of this week’s Parsha. He asks how could it be that Korach would pit himself against Moshe? Did he not see throughout all that happened in the Midbar up until now that Moshe was in G-d’s favor? After all it was Moshe who went up onto Har Sinai, it was Moshe who split the sea and even more importantly it was Moshe who brought down Pharaoh – the king of the most powerful nation in the region. How could it be that Korach thought Moshe was not the “chosen one”?


            Sha”dal answers by saying that Korach was influenced by the pagan society in which he grew up – Egypt. In Egypt the priest was the one that knew the laws, knew the secret rights of worship – that is how they got their “job”. He saw that Moshe was an agent of G-d and that Moshe was indeed the “Chosen one” but he thought that this was a result of Moshe knowing the right Avodah to do for G-d. Now that the Torah was given everyone knew the right way of worshipping G-d and maybe now Korach can convince G-d that he is the right agent / priest for G-d’s cause. In fact now that everyone knew the laws – anyone could be the leader. He did not realize that Hashem picked Moshe for the job because Moshe was suited for the job – this was his tafkid that he was uniquely suited for – that was why he was picked not because he knew the secret of how to get to G-d.


            I think in today’s society we have a strange version of the Korach problem. So many people think that Avodat Hashem is for only those in the “Know”. It is for only those who sit and learn or for the Rabbis or for the “frum” people but not for me – I am not in that category and therefore Avodat Hashem does not apply to me. People feel that if they are not going into learning they do not need to learn and if they are not going to go all the way – then they do not have to strive to do more than they are doing now. Often when people come back from the Year in Israel and reality hits and they feel it is too difficult to maintain all that they did before it proves that it is not for me.


In reality it has nothing to do with that – Chaza”l tell us “Rachmana Leba Bae” Hashem wants our heart – Hashem wants our good intentions – it is not about how much you know or how much you fit into a particular group it is about how much you strive to do the right thing. Moshe was picked even before he was in the know – he was picked while yet a simple shepherd – but his heart was in the right place and Hashem knew that he would be able to be a leader for the Jews. It is only afterwards that he became Moshe Rabbenu – he was picked before he deserved the title.


            Korach’s mistake was that he thought the title was what showed your level of Avodat Hashem – he didn’t realize in Hashem’s world, titles mean nothing – it is all about how much you strive to do Hashem’s will.




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