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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 16, v. 1: "Va'yikach Korach" - And Korach took - Korach truly had many positive attributes and he might have had some revered appointment coming his way. The problem was that he TOOK. As Rashi says, "Lokach es atzmo." (Rebbe Reb Bunim of Parshizcha)

Ch. 16, v. 1: "Ben Yitzhor ben K'hos" - Son of Yitzhor son of K'hos - The Torah lists his illustrious lineage to teach us that this was a contributory factor to his seeking a prominent position. Building on the laurels of "yichus" is dangerous. (Holy Chozeh of Lublin)

Ch. 16, v. 3: "Rav lochem ki chol ho'eidoh kulom k'doshim" - It is enough for you because the whole congregation is holy - You have had the leadership for long enough. If not for the fact that the whole congregation is holy and has up to now had patience with you at its helm, you would have long ago been deposed. (Ksav Sofer)

Ch. 16, v. 3: "Kulom k'doshim" - They are all holy - Until now Moshe's holiness was above everyone else's. since they were just given the mitzvoh of tzitzis, where it says "Vi'h'yisem k'doshim lEilokeichem" (15:40), Korach felt that everyone then rose to the holiness of Moshe. (K'hilas Yitzchok)

Ch. 16, v. 4: "Va'yipole al ponov" - And he fell on his face - Rashi comments that they suspected him of sinning with a married woman. The gemara Sanhedrin 81 says that the words, "V'es eishes rei'eihu lo timei" mean that he did not improperly enter into business competition with his friend. Korach's complaint was that Moshe appointed Aharon as Kohein Godol and deprived him of this position. This is entering his friend's enterprise, equated to adultery. (Haflo'oh)

Alternatively, Rashi's words are "Shechoshduhu MEI'eishes ish." As per the medrash Korach's wife fired him up against Moshe. Thus, they suspected him of wrongdoing in his appointments by virtue of a married woman, Korach's wife. (n.l.)

Nothing really came of their claim of suspecting Moshe of adultery, so why is it mentioned by the verse in an allusion and by our Rabbis overtly? There is an extremely important lesson being taught. When a great person is badmouthed people readily think that it cannot be true, especially something as outlandish as adultery. However, there is often a thought that creeps into their mind, that if he were to be totally removed from this or that wrongdoing no one would even say anything negative. These words of our Rabbis come to counter this wrong thought. (Yalkut Margolios)

Ch. 16, v. 11: "V'Aharon mah hu ki solinu olov" - And what is Aharon that you should cause argument on him - Our Rabbis teach us that a person's nature can be seen "b'koso, b'kiso, uvkaaso," through his behaviour after drinking, in his generosity, and when he is brought to anger. Moshe tells Korach that if he wants to test Aharon's character, "mah hu," then he should be argumentative and see how Aharon reacts. (Rabbi Meir Arik)

Ch. 16, v. 15: "Lo chamore echod mei'hem" - Not the donkey of one of them - This is the translation of Rashi and Targum Onkelos. According to this the intention is that Moshe did not make use of the donkey of even one person. The Chasam Sofer Droshos page #408 explains this differently. The Mogein Avrohom O.Ch. #158 cites Sefer Chasidim who writes that a person was punished for building a Beis Haknesses and refusing to allow anyone to take part in the mitzvoh. Moshe's need for transportation was always for a dvar mitzvoh. It was only if the donkey offered him belonged to one person that he did not take it. However, if a donkey that belonged to a group was offered him he would readily use it to bring merit to the many. Alternatively, it is told of the Chasam Sofer that he was advised that someone in his community was very angry at him. He responded that he was very surprised as he didn't remember doing that person a favour. (It seems to be human nature that when someone is beholden to another that he is very uncomfortable. This can bring to strife.) Moshe was such a great personage that anyone would be thrilled to have been the one to lend him a donkey for transportation or portage. In essence Moshe, by accepting is doing the lender the favour. Moshe is saying that he wonders why anyone is angry with him because he did not even one person the favor of borrowing a donkey from him, thus there is nothing that would engender anger at him. (n.l.)

Ch. 18, v. 20: "B'artzom lo sinchol v'cheilek lo yi'h'yeh l'cho b'sochom" - In their land you shall not inherit and a portion there will not be for you among them - The double expression means that not only will the L'viim not receive a tribal section as does each other tribe, but even if a good-hearted ben Yisroel offers a Levite a piece of his portion he may not accept it. (Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh)

Ch. 18, v. 26: "Maa'seir min hamaa'seir" - A tenth from a tenth - The reason that the L'viim are commanded to give this amount is because the bnei Yisroel are left with 9/10th of their produce after tithing. The L'viim are likewise commanded to remain with only 9/10th of what they receive and not have more than those who worked in the fields for their produce. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)

This explanation does not deal with "maa'seir oni," which is given on the third and sixth years.

Ch. 18, v. 27: "V'nech'shav lochem trumas'chem k'dogon min hagoren v'chimlei'oh min ha'yekev" - And your tithe will be considered for you as grain from the threshing floor and as fullness from the winepress - The Lviim are to give a tithe to the Kohein from that which they received from the bnei Yisroel farmers. They might incorrectly feel that they will not be greatly rewarded for their tithing as it comes from that which they received as a present, with no sweat of their brow. The verse therefore tells them that Hashem will consider their tithing equal to the farmers taking grain from the threshing floor and as wine from the press that he gives the Levi. (Imrei Shefer)

Ch. 18, v. 32: "V'es kodshei bnei Yisroel lo s'chal'lu v'lo somusu" - And the holy items of the bnei Yisroel shall you not desecrate and then you will not die - We are discussing the Lviim's responsibility to separate a tenth of their maa'seir, which they received from the bnei Yisroel, which they are to give to a Kohein. If the Lviim were to desecrate their tithe by offering a Kohein the withered, poor section of what they received, the bnei Yisroel would say to themselves, "If the L'viim, who received their maa'seir without working the fields, are so stingy as to give the meager part of their maa'seir to the Kohein, we, who work the fields to produce the fruits of our labour, all the more will we give the weakest part of the produce as a tithe. This is the direct result of the L'viim's stinginess and brings to the masses following suit. For this they can be punished by death, as they cause the masses to behave improperly. Thus the verse says to not desecrate their tithe or else they will die. (Imrei Shefer)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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