Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Korach

That’s No Small Point

By Rabbi Label Lam

And Moshe said to Korach, “Listen please, son of Levi! Is it a small thing that the G-d of Israel distinguished you to sacrifice to Him and to perform the work of the Temple of HASHEM, and to stand before the congregation as their servant, and He brought you close and all your brothers, the children of Levi and you also quest the Kehuna (priesthood)? (Bamidbar 16:8-10)

The evil inclination is likened to a fly… (Brochos 61A)

How could such a great man as Korach have fallen so far so quickly? He was endowed with extraordinary wealth and charisma. How could have allowed himself to be brought literally over the edge? Let us pause to appreciate just how fatal a flaw can be.

I heard a marvelous parable from a close colleague and friend Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein shlita that goes something like this. A fellow living comfortably in his beautiful home is approached by a stranger with a bizarre request. He offers to buy the house for a million dollars, a fare market price but the man refuses. He loves his house and has no intention of selling. The stranger persists. I’ll rent a room from you for a $500, 000.00. The man begs off once again and denies his offer. The stranger counters that all he wants is a bed, not even a whole room and for that he’s willing to pay $250,000.00, but the homeowner insists more fervently than ever that he doesn’t want the stranger living in his house under any conditions. You might think that that would have been the end of the conversation but the stranger makes a stranger than ever offer. All he wants is a spot on the wall and for that he’ll pay $125,000.00. The man could resist no longer. What would he lose by selling a spot on the wall? The deal is done.

The next night at 2:00 AM there’s a thunderous knock on the door. The stranger is there demanding to visit his spot. The owner is compelled to let him in. The stranger begins to hammer a nail into his spot. The homeowner protests at first but the stranger reminds him that the spot belongs to him and he can do with it what he pleases. The next night at 3:00 AM there is another loud knock on the door. The stranger enters with a large painting. He hangs an objectionable image on the nail. The owner protests but the stranger convinces him that it his spot and he can do with it what he pleases. Every night there’s another intrusion and the terribleness of the pictures he hangs are increasingly distasteful. He tries to force the stranger out of his house but the stranger has firmly staked out his turf. The owner offers him a million dollars to exit but he makes life so miserable that owner abandons his own home.

Rabbi Wallerstein explains that the negative inclination comes to us and offers to take away our entire Yiddishkeit and we bravely refuse. The he tries to separate a person from some major organ of his Torah life like Shabbos or Kashrus and we are stalwart. Then the evil inclination angles to enter our lives in some more subtle form and that we flatly reject. Finally he seeks a spot the width of a wire on the wall, a seemingly innocuous concession and before we know what has happened we are at risk of forfeiting what was never negotiable.

The negative inclination is likened to a fly because it is persistent, and no matter how many times it is chased away it returns. Its genius is in finding that point of greatest vulnerability and deficiency. So it was that an unchecked trait like jealousy was able to sink Korach’s ship and that’s no small point!


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

Not Better or Worse, Just Different
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Miracles Can Happen Slowly
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

ArtScroll

A Second Chance
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Flooded With Real Ecstasy
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Investing in the Land
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

What Goes Around Comes Around
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Too Perfect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Understanding the Faith of Noach
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

> No Fear, No Fair
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Coming to Terms with the World to Come
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

"G-d Watches Over Man"
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

To Share in the Pain of Others
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Ark D'triumph
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Noah's Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

The Ideal Way of Life
Shlomo Katz - 5768



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information