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Parshat Hashavua Korach

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Last Updated on October 25, 2021

Weekly Torah Portion – Parshat Hashavua Korach

Contributed by: Rabbi Nissim Mordechai Makor

Parshat Hashavua Korach rav makor 220x220

Parshat Hashavua Korach in a nutshell: Korach, Moses’ cousin, stages a rebellion against him, accusing Moses of a power grab. He and his entourage are swallowed up by the earth. The people protest, and a plague ensues.

Vayikach Korah. . . ” Numbers 16:1 “And Korach took. . . “

The Talmud explains that this verse teaches us that Korach took a bad “mekach” or acquisition for himself. What did he take and from whom did he take it? The Medrash Agadah explains that a wealthy person is called an “ashir” ( spelled ‘ayin shin yud resh’) to instruct us that money has the potential to cause a person harm. If one gives his money to charity and to other causes of olam haba which is known as “yesh” (yud shin) his money will not cause him harm because money can be harmful for a person if he wastes it on mundane selfish matters. Therefore the word ‘”ashir” which is glorious to its owner, contains a first and last letter that spells the word, “ra,” bad. The word “yesh” or charity breaks up the “ra” because the letters yud and shin comprise the middle letters of the word “ashir.”
When a person gives of his money to the necessities of “yesh,” on matters that will bring him to olam haba, he will not be harmed when he spends his money on material possessions. If money is selfishly horded and not spent on charitable and other worthwhile endeavors, it can become hurtful to its possessor, because the letters of “yesh” flee the “ashir” and what remains is “ra.”
Korach did not expend his money towards olam haba because he was a stingy miser. He therefore only actualized into “ra” because he never developed and exerted effort to bring out the “yesh” in his character. Thus, our Sages said that he took a bad “ra” portion for himself. Mishlei 28:22 states that “a miserly man runs after wealth; he does not realize that wealth will overtake it.” Since a miser does not give to charity he winds up lacking. By witholding charity the “yesh” is missing and the “ashir” is only left with “ra.”

Va’ani Tefillah

V’ha’osher v’ha’kavod milfanecha v’atah mosheil ba’kol.
Wealth and honor come from You. And You rule everything.
The Raavan explains the use of kavod, honor, in connection with osher, wealth. Indeed, there are those who gain wealth in an unscrupulous manner. This is certainly not b’kavodick, honorable. Osher v’kavod refers to wealth gained honorably. I think that the emphasis is on the “wealth and honor,” indicating that these are two very distinct attributes. This is unlike those whose honor is derived exclusively from their wealth. Perhaps they derive their wealth scrupulously, but this is all they have.
The Arizal had the custom to give tzedakah when he recited the words V’atah mosheil bakol, “And You rule everything.” V’yifgah Ba’makom explains that these pesukim detail the great contributions that David Hamelech and Klal Yisrael gave towards the building of the Bais Hamikdash. Those contributions exemplify the essence of lishmah, for its sake, charity given selflessly for no other reason other than to build the Bais Hamikdash. David knew that he would not see the finished edifice. What greater example of lishmah can there be? This is why it is an appropriate time to give tzedakah. In addition, the Ozrover Rebbe, zl, explains that when one declares, “And You rule everything,” he is intimating that the tzedakah he is giving actually belongs to Hashem, Who has “deposited” it with him, so that he can have the wherewithal to support the poor. He is just executing his function for Hashem.
As heard form my Torah Teachers
Shabbat Shalom
With Torah Blessings
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