Korach: The Bald Truth

He needed to be the best Korach he could be.

Rabbi S. Weiss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

What gives with Korach? The man was fabulously wealthy - some say he was the richest man in the entire world. He had oodles of kavod - he was one of the privileged few chosen to carry the Aron HaBrit in the desert. And, as a Levi assigned to a holy task, he also had a very cool haircut - fully shaved, a la Kobe Bryant or, for those out there who remember, Kojak (maybe Ko-be and Ko-jak are copying Ko-rach?).

So why does he start a rebellion against Moshe, his own cousin? Was he really such a bad guy? And if he was, then why does he merit having a parsha in his name, something usually reserved for the righteous?

Lots of the commentaries point to tragic flaws in Korach's character: he was power hungry, jealous of Moshe and Ahron, an egomaniac, etc. But let's give the man the benefit of the doubt; after all, his genes will produce very righteous children and the second greatest of all prophets, Shmuel HaNavi. So let's consider another possibility.

The bald truth may just be that Korach wanted to get closer to HaShem. Yes, he already had fame and fortune.
We can serve G-d in whatever role we play, within our own capabilities.
Yes, he knew lots of people in high places, and was clearly a mover and a shaker. But to be on Moshe's level and relate "face to face" with the Almighty - that is the ultimate. To be Kohen Gadol and enter the Kodesh Kodashim on Yom Kippur, and be the shadchan between HaShem and Am Yisrael - that is an unequalled spiritual high. And that is what Korach may have wanted out of all of this.

While it is certainly admirable to strive for greater heights and to get closer to HaShem, it is also crucial to accept one's lot in life and understand that we can serve G-d in whatever role we play, within our own capabilities. One does not have to be a prince, a poet or a talmid chacham to find spiritual meaning in this world and be beloved by HaShem. Every one of us is a Tzelem Elokim with special skills and strengths; utilizing them in the service of G-d is the fulfillment of our Creator's plan.

The Chafetz Chaim, who loved the common man, would often marvel at the talents of a wagon driver or a farmer, wondering at the things they did which he could not do, and how each played an important role in the stability of society. The driver "held the reins" no less than the rabbi; the farmer "created" the world's food, just as G-d created the manna.

Korach may have sought expanded opportunities to express a well-intentioned desire to approach HaShem. But he didn't have to become Moshe or Aharon to do that; he just needed to be the best Korach he could be. He may have been searching for spirituality, but he was looking for G-d in all the wrong places.