Thoughts on the Weekly Parshah by HaRav Eliezer Chrysler
Formerly Rav of Mercaz Ahavat Torah, Johannesburg

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Vol. 14   No. 35

This issue is sponsored l'iluy Nishmas
Yisrael ben Binyomin z"l
whose Yohrzeit is on 27th Sivan

Parshas Korach

The Twenty-Four Gifts

"And Hashem spoke to Aharon: 'And as for Me, I have given you " (18:8-17).

If one studies this Parshah, one will find there all the twenty-four gifts of Kehunah, says the Da'as Zekeinim M.T., and he proceeds to tell us exactly how

"ES MISHMERES TERUMOSAI" Terumah and Chalah (which is also referred to as 'Terumah').

"MIN HO'EISH KOL KORBONOM" Minchas So'les, Minchas Ma'afeh Tanur, Minchas Marchavas & Marcheshes.



"ASHER YOSHIVU LI" Gezel ha'Ger.

"T'RUMAS MATONOM" ha'Moram (i.e. the chest and the right calf) from the Todah and the Sh'lomim, ha'Moram mi'Lachmei Todah (four of the forty loaves that are given to the Kohen) and the Zero'a besheilah (the cooked right foreleg) of the ram of the Nazir.

"MATONOM" Zero'a, Lechayayim & Keivah (the right foreleg, the cheeks and the stomach of Chulin animals that have been Shechted).

"BIKUREI KOL " Bikurim.

"KOL CHEIREM" Charamim.

"KOL PETTER RECHEM" Pidyon bechor adam (Pidyon ha'Ben).

"BECHOR BEHEIMAH HA'TEMEI'OH" Pidyon petter Chamor (the lamb that is given in place of a firstborn donkey).

"BECHOR SHOR KESEV VO'EIZ" Bechoros beheimah tehorah.



In spite of the author's opening statement, this list is far from comprehensive, omitting many items from the official list comprising ten Kodshei ha'Mikdash, ten Kodshei ha'Gevul and four Kodshei Yerushalayim.

For example, the Da'as Zekeinim M.T. has not included the source of the Chatas ho'Of (from Kodshei ha'Mikdash), the first of the wool-shearings (from Kodshei ha'Gevul) or the skin of Kodshei Kodshim (from Kodshei Yerushalayim). And there are others, which are not hinted in this Parshah. .


Here is the full list, based on the Gemara in Bava Kama (110a), as it appeared in Midei Shabbos be'Shabbato, Parshas Korach, volume 1.

a) 'Kodshei Ha'Mikdash', which were given to the Kohen and which had to be eaten in the 'Azarah' (the Temple Courtyard):

1. The animal sin-offering (Chatas Beheimah).

2. The bird sin-offering (Chatas ha'Of).

3. A guilt-offering brought for a specific sin (Asham Vaday).

4. A guilt-offering brought where there is a doubt whether one is obligated to bring a sin-offering (Asham Taluy).

5. A public peace-offering (brought only on Shavu'os [Zivchei Shalmei Tzibur]).

6. The 'Lug' (a measure consisting of 6 egg-volumes) of oil from a 'Metzoro's' offering.

7. The two wheat-loaves (brought on Shavu'os [Sh'tei ha'Lechem]).

8. The twelve show-breads (eaten on Shabbos in the Azarah [Lechem ha'Panim]).

9. A flour-offering (after a fistful has been removed [Minchah]).

10. The Omer - of barley (brought on Pesach).

b) 'Kodshei Ha'gvul', which were given to the Kohen and eaten by him anywhere in Eretz Yisrael.

1. Terumah (1/50th of the Yisrael's crops)

2. Terumas-Ma'aser - 1/10th of the Ma'aser-Rishon given by a Yisrael to the Levi, of which he then had to give 1/10th to the Kohen.

3. Challoh - 1/24th of a dough baked by a private Yisrael, 1/48th of a baker's dough.

4. The first of the shearings (each wool-season [Reishis ha'Gez]).

5. The right foreleg, the cheeks and the stomach of every Shechted Chulin animal (Zero'a, Lechayayim & Keivah).

6. 'Pidyon ha'ben' - the 5 shekalim redemption-money of each first-born son of a Yisrael (but not of a Levi).

7. The lamb used to redeem a Yisrael's first-born donkey (Pidyon Petter Chamor).

8. A field declared 'cherem' (a form of Hekdesh) by a Yisrael.

9. A field of inheritance declared Hekdesh by a Yisrael and not redeemed by him before the commencement of the Yovel year. 10. An object stolen from a convert who died after the thief had sworn his innocence (Gezel ha'Ger). The thief must then pay the principle plus a fifth to the Kohanim.

c) Kodshei Yerushalayim - to be eaten or used by the Kohen in Yerushalayim.

1. A first-born animal (B'chor Beheimah) - to be sacrificed, and eaten in Yerushalayim.

2. First-fruits (Bikurim) - to be given to the Kohen in the Beis-Hamikdash and eaten by him anywhere in Yerushalayim.

3. The chest and right calf of a Yisrael's peace-offering (Chazeh ve'Shok) - plus 4 of the 40 loaves, if it was a thanks-offering (Moram min ha'Todah).

4. The skins of 'Kodshei Kodshim' - i.e. the burnt-offerings, the sin-offerings, the guilt-offerings and the public peace-offerings.


Rabeinu Bachye, in Parshas Naso, considers Birchas Kohanim to be the twenty-fifth Matanah given to the Kohanim, as is hinted in the word "Koh" (in the Pasuk "Koh sevorchu es B'nei Yisrael"), whose numerical value is twenty-five.

* * *

Parsha Pearls

What's in a Name

"And Korach the son of Yitzhar, the son of K'has, the son of Levi took " (16:1).

What entered Korach's head, asks the Rosh, to raise himself above the community in an attempt to usurp the leadership from Moshe and Aharon?

And he ascribes his madness to his name, as we will now explain.

His name was ben Yitzhar, says the Rosh. Now 'Yitzhar' means oil (as we know from the Sh'ma), and as is well- known, whenever one pours a drop of oil into any other liquid, it will always go to the top. So Korach figured that if that was what lay behind his name, then the top was where he belonged.


Korach was right in one respect. The name of a person does foretell his future. Only Chazal had a different interpretation of his name. This is how the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos, explains their interpretation

"Korach" who made a bald patch in Yisrael or

"Korach" which has the same numerical value as 'shodad', to devastate, or to despoil, a hint to his throwing off the yoke of Mitzvos.

"ben Yitzhar" he heated up the world like in the middle of the day (Tzohorayim=midday).

"ben K'has" a son who blunted the teeth of those who bore him (like 'Hakheh es shinav' in the Haggadah).

"ben Levi" who made an escort to Gehinom.


Does that mean that Korach erred in the meaning of his name?

Not at all!. Korach may have been basically right. The potential to become one of the greats of K'lal Yisrael was there, and had he not gone for the Kavod, he may well have attained it. The trouble was that, having foreseen that he was destined for greatness, he opted to attain it by hook or by crook. And Chazal have said that somebody who runs after Kavod will find that Kavod eludes him. Ironically, it was his own reaction to what he saw that rendered the prediction unattainable.


The Thought Behind the Sin

"And Korach the son of Yitzhar took and Dasan and Aviram and On ben Peles (all) sons of Reuven. And they stood before Moshe, and two hundred and fifty men from B'nei Yisrael " (16:2).

Korach thought that he was a firstborn in his father's family, and he accused Moshe of taking away his rights and giving them to Aharon, who was not, says the Chizkuni.

Dasan, Aviram and On ben Peles believed that Reuven (whose descendents they were) was the firstborn of the tribes, and they accused Moshe of having taken away the birthright from him and given it to Yosef, on account of his star Talmid, Yehoshua, who was a descendent of Yosef.

Whilst the two hundred and fifty men (all communal leaders) figured that they were firstborn, and they accused Moshe of having taken away the Bechorah and given it to the B'nei Levi.


Destroying them in a Moment

"Separate from this community, and I will destroy them in a moment" (16:21).

What is the significance of the term "in a moment", asks the Or ha'Chayim?

If it is to teach us the extent of G-d's power, G-d already did that in Ki Sisa, when after the sin of the Golden Calf, He said "in one moment, I will come up in your midst and destroy you", and it would have been superfluous to repeat it here. He therefore cites the Medrash that Rashi already cited earlier in the Parshah (see Pasuk 4). Extrapolating from the Medrash that the sin of the Spies preceded that of Korach, he explains that what Moshe achieved by his Tefilos was to postpone the carrying out of Yisrael's death-sentence, to stretch it out over forty years instead of killing them all in one go.

What happened here was that G-d decided to rescind Moshe's reprieve, and punish Korach and his followers swiftly, as He had intended to do with the whole of K'lal Yisrael before Moshe Davened on their behalf, by killing them in one moment. And the above Medrash, says the Or ha'Chayim, also solves the problem why G-d intended to incorporate Yisrael in the punishment, seeing as they were not really part and parcel of the rebellion. It was, he says, because Yisrael were already Chayav Miysah on account of the sin of the Spies, only G-d had agreed to postpone the death sentence, as we explained. Now that the reprieve had been rescinded with regard to Korach and his men, their punishment would have extended to the rest of K'lal Yisrael (had Moshe not intervened), as Chazal say 'The Satan accuses in time of danger'. As an exampleof this concept, he cites the people who were sent home from the battle-front for having merely spoken between laying the Tefilin shel Rosh and the Tefilin shel Yad, a sin that does not warrant the death-penalty under normal circumstances, but threatens to do so in the time of war. Likewise here, Yisrael would have received the death penalty, even though they were innocent.


I would add that although Yisrael had not initially joined Korach's rebellion, at the point of which we are speaking, they had allowed themselves to be stirred up by Korach, and were no longer blameless. In that case, extending Korach's punishment to them is perfectly plausible.


To Overlay the Mizbei'ach

"And Elazar the Kohen took the copper pans and he beat them as a covering for the Mizbei'ach. A remembrance for B'nei Yisrael " (17:3).

The Torah (at the end of Yisro) calls the Mizbei'ach 'Mizbach Adamah', because it was filled with earth and had no roof. When Elazar used the copper pans to overlay the Mizbei'ach, he actually made it a roof for the first time, the Chizkuni explains.

So when the people would see the new-look Mizbei'ach, they would be sure to remember the episode of Korach.


Blossoms and Almonds

"And behold the staff of Aharon blossomed for the Tribe of Levi, and it produced blossoms, sprouted buds and almonds had ripened" (17:23).

It appears from the Pasuk, the Da'as Zekeinim M.T. explains, that Aharon's staff contained two species, on one side blossoms, on the other, erstwhile blossoms that had sprouted buds and had then turned into almonds.

And this is borne out by the Gemara in Yuma (21b) and in Pesachim, which includes among the five things that were missing in the second Beis-Hamikdash, 'Aharon's staff, its almonds and its blossoms'.

* * *


" Korach took his Tallis made completely of Techeiles (dark-blue wool), and so did Dasan and Aviram " (16:1).


"And they arose with arrogance, and issued a ruling in the presence of Moshe with regard to the Mitzvah of Tzitzis: Moshe said 'I heard from the mouth of Hakadosh Baruch Hu may His Name be blessed, that the Tzitzis should be white and only one thread, Techeiles; But Korach and his friends prepared a garment with all its Tzitzis T'cheiles, something which G-d did not command " (16:2).


" Moshe heard how each of them warned his wife not to seclude themselves with him, otherwise he would make her drink the water that would ascertain as to whether she had committed adultery with him; and Moshe fell on his face from shame" (16:4).


"And Moshe sent messengers to invite Dasan and Aviram the sons of Eli'av to the Beis-Din ha'Gadol, but they said 'We will not go' " (16:12).


" And Korach gathered the entire congregation to the entrance of the Ohel Mo'ed, and he boasted of his vast wealth (for he had found two of the three storehouses which Yosef had filled with the silver and gold), and he was now about to use his wealth to drive Moshe and Aharon out of the world, only the Glory of Hashem revealed itself to the entire community" (16:19).


"And Hashem said to Moshe I have accepted your (Moshe and Aharon's) prayers on behalf of the congregation. So tell them to depart from the vicinity of the dwellings of Korach, Dasan and Aviram" (16:24).


"And he spoke to the congregation saying 'Move away from these wicked men, who have been guilty of the death-sentence since their youth. In Egypt, they publicized my secrets, after I killed the Egyptian; They angered Hashem at the Yam-Suf, in Alush, they broke the Shabbos and now they have rebelled against the word of G-d. Consequently, they deserve to be excommunicated and their property, destroyed Keep away from anything that belongs to them ' " (16:26).


"And all Yisrael who were in the vicinity fled because they were terrified of their voices, as they cried out 'G-d is righteous. His laws and the words of Moshe His servant are just, and we are wicked for having rebelled against Him' " (16:34).

* * *

(Adapted from the Seifer ha'Chinuch)

Please bear in mind that the rulings in this article reflect the opinion of the Seifer ha'Chinuch and are not necessarily Halachah.

Mitzvah 395:
Terumas Ma'aser

The Levi'im are commanded to set aside Ma'aser from the Ma'aser that they receive from Yisrael, and give it to the Kohanim, as the Torah writes in Korach (18:26) "And to the Levi'im you shall speak and you shall separate from it the Terumah of Hashem, Ma'aser from the Ma'aser". Based on the expression used by the Torah, "the Terumah of Hashem", the Gemara always refers to it as Terumas Ma'aser. And the Pasuk states clearly that it is given to the Kohanim, when it says "And you shall give from it the Terumah of Hashem to Aharon the Kohen". The Torah warns the Levi to separate this Ma'aser from the best and choicest of what he received, as it is written "from all its best part, its sacred part from it". And furthermore, it is said about it " and you shall not bear a sin because of it, when you raise its best part from it", implying that if one does separate it from the inferior part, one does bear a sin. In fact, this is a La'av that stems from an Asei, which falls under the category of an Asei. Therefore one should not count it as a La'av.

A reason for the Mitzvah Introduction: As we know, G-d separated the entire tribe from the rest of K'lal Yisrael and designated it for his service, forever. However, within the tribe itself, one member was chosen to be head of the tribe, an officer and a prince, both he and his offspring forever. He alone was declared sacred to stand and serve eternally before G-d, whilst the rest of the tribe was placed under his charge to assist in the Avodah, as the Torah writes in Korach (18:1) "And Hashem said to Aharon 'You and your father's house shall bear the sin of the Mikdash; you and your sons with you shall bear the sin of your priesthood' ", meaning that whereas the entire tribe are responsible for guarding the Mikdash, the main Avodah (i.e. the Kehunah) lies in the domain of Aharon and his sons. And the Torah continues "And also your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, bring near to you, and they will be joined to you and minister to you" - you are the 'Ikar' (main one) and not they. And in Bamidbar (3:9) the Torah also writes "And you shall give the Levi'im to Aharon and his sons; they are given to him ". And it is because the Kohanim are the Ikar in the service of Hashem that they merited the twenty-four gifts that were given to them, as specified in the Torah, as listed in Bava Kama (110a), ten in the Mikdash, four in Yerushalayim and ten in the borders of Yisrael. The rest of the tribe of Levi, who were chosen together with him, also merited benefits without having to toil for them, in the form of a tenth of the fruits that they receive from Yisrael. And in order to drive home the lesson that their portion and that of their brothers (the Kohanim) is due to their service of Hashem, they are commanded to take one tenth of what they receive from the B'nei Yisrael and to give it to the chief servants, to remind them that they are their superiors, and that there is One who is superior to them, who stands guard over everything.

Some of the Dinim of the Mitzvah Chazal have said that a ben Levi who took Ma'aser Rishon from the stalks (before the corn has even been threshed), may not give the Kohen T'rumas Ma'aser from the stalks, but is penalized to thresh the corn and winnow it first. Should the Levi give the Kohen T'rumas Ma'aser after he has winnowed the corn, he does not need to include the straw in his gift to the Kohen; but if he gives it before winnowing, then he is obligated to give T'rumas Ma'aser from the straw as well They also said that T'rumas Ma'aser does not require 'min ha'Mukaf' (placing all the crops that the Levi wants to cover with his gift to the Kohen, in front of him when he separates it). But if he has one batch of Ma'aser in one country and another, in another country, he is permitted to separate one lot of T'rumas Ma'aser to cover both batches.

Nevertheless, the Chachamim have said that Talmidei-Chachamim tend to separate Ma'asros 'min ha'Mukaf' and the remaining details are discussed in T'rumos, in Ma'asros and in parts of D'mai (as well as in the first chapter of Hilchos T'rumos in the Rambam).

This mitzvah applies wherever the Mitzvah of T'rumah and Ma'aser applies. The author will discuss the Mitzvah at length in Parshas Shoftim, in the Mitzvah of separating T'rumah (Mitzvah 507).

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