Korach and the Karaites

Both Korach and Karaites missed the symbolic relationship between written and Oral Law.

Steven Genack‏ ,

Steven Genack
Steven Genack
INN:SG
Karaite ideology can be traced back to Korach. Korach was a man who relied upon his own reasoning to defy Moshe: the symbol of the Oral Law. Korach’s logic might have had merit, but he failed in one key area: comporting with the mesorah.

Korach claims a cloth of all blue should be exempt from tzitzit. In bold fashion, he confronts Moshe with a mitzvah that’s just been commanded and presents a logical argument to discount its true meaning.

Korach set the stage for the Karaite movement that created their own standard for interpreting G-d’s Torah. They took the Written Law at face value and ignored the Oral Law: the mesorah.

The Karaites “took” (vayikach) the Torah, as Torah is referred to as a kicha – “a taking” in evaluating the “korach” – bald spot, not requiring peyot and they “took” the Torah in terms of not having to wear tefillin on the arm and head, based on logical considerations.

Though the greatest gift we have been given is to deduct sevara’s and postulate chiddushim from the body of Torah to reach deep understandings, this analysis can never infringe on Torat Moshe that demands a symbiotic relationship between the Written and Oral law.



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