The power of women

Sometimes hidden, sometimes front stage, women can set the tone for societal interaction.

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

Sivan Rahav-Meir
Sivan Rahav-Meir
Eyal ben Ayish

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

It's difficult when our spouse is not satisfied with us, and the wife of Korach was not satisfied with her husband. This week's Torah portion, parashat Korach, speaks about the controversy between Korach and Moshe and Aharon.

But behind the scenes, petty motivations are revealed. Why did Korach decide to rebel against the leadership of Moshe and Aharon? After all, he had a significant leadership position, came from a good family, and had lots of money (from here the expression "as rich as Korach" is derived). Our sages tell us that Korach's wife would complain to him night and day: Why do Moshe and Aharon have more senior positions than you? Why are you not progressing in life? Korach heard -- and was affected.

Yet within this tragic controversy, another figure appears: the wife of On Ben-Pelet. Her husband had already begun to drift towards Korach, but she succeeded in preventing him at the last minute from joining him and thus saved her husband's life.

The world is full of controversies, ideologies, and dramatic proclamations. When we look closely, we discover how much those in our household influence us, how much the nuclear family stabliizes us – in everyday conversations between the kitchen and the living room.

Our commentators learn from Korach how important it is to check the people closest to us –their tone, the atmosphere they create, and in which direction they are pulling us.

And last week, the power of a special woman and the anithesis to Korach::

Thank you Yitzhak and Miriam for showing us how things can be done.

Thank you, Yizhak Herzog for the words you said upon being elected the new President of Israel: "Here I am, poor in deeds. (Note: these are the words chanted by the chazzan at the opening of the Musaf prayer on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.) I am grateful for being given this grave responsibility. I am grateful for Miriam Peretz, Israeli heroine (Note: two of her sons, both IDF officers, were killed in action), for being a symbol to all Israeli citizens, for standing tall despite infinite pain, for choosing life."

And thank you Miriam Peretz for your concession speech which was actually a victory speech. "I was privileged to run against a dear person whom I admire and esteem. Do you have any idea what an honor it is to run against such a worthy opponent? . . . In the Haftarah that we read on Shabbat, it is written: 'Sing and rejoice, daughter of Zion.' (Zechariah 2:14) I am a daughter of Zion who came on aliyah from Morocco, lived in a transit camp, and ran for the Presidency of israel. This is joy. This is pride. At the close of the same Haftarah, we read: 'Not by military force, not by physical strength,' not by the number of mandates or any other calculation, 'but by My spirit says the Lord of hosts.' (Zechariah 4:6) This spirit in me will persist."

Congratulations, Yitzhak Herzog. Miriam Peretz will continue to serve in the one and only position of being Miriam Peretz. Thanks to both of you for reminding us how it's possible to conduct elections here, with mutual respect.

May we quickly merit to welcome the ultimate nasi (prince or president), the leader foreseen by the prophet Ezekiel: "And they shall dwell on the land that I have given to My servant, to Jacob, where your forefathers lived; and they shall dwell upon it, they and their children and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever." (Ezekiel 37:25)



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