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"The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all the people who were with Korach, and the entire wealth. They and all that was theirs descended alive to the pit; the earth covered them over and they were lost from among the congregation" (Bemidbar 16:32-33).

Rashi (in passage 27) records the words of the Sages who said, "Come and see how grievous a sin quarrelling is - for, you know, an earthly tribunal does not punish a person before he shows signs of puberty; the Heavenly tribunal not even before he is twenty years old, whilst here even the sucklings perished."

Korach, and his entire group and their families, lost their lives due to the quarrel they instigated against Moshe Rabbeinu. The opposite is also true. One who seeks to make peace will be blessed with life.

The following story, told to me in the name of Rabbi Pinchus Jung, proves this point.

For years, Family A and Family B were quarrelling. It was not the "first generation" fighting anymore, and the families no longer remembered what the original argument was all about. But none of them wanted to break the chain that their fathers had started, so for years they didn't have anything to do with each other. One day, a daughter of Family B got engaged. They set the wedding for a day in the middle of March, in a popular wedding hall. One day, Mr. B met Mr. A in shul and decided to approach him and try to make up after so many years. "Mr. A," he said, "you know, it's been so long since the fight began, and I don't even remember what it was all about; why are we still ignoring each other?"

"True," responded Mr. A, "I don't remember what the argument was about either. There's no reason to continue this quarrel unnecessarily."

And so they made up, and everyone was happy. But Mr. B wanted to take it a step further. "My daughter is getting married in the middle of March," he said. "We would love to have you and your family join us."

"I'd love to come," replied Mr. A, "but I'm having a very important procedure done that same week, and I've been waiting months and months to have it done. I couldn't possibly forfeit my turn because of a wedding; no matter how important!"

But Mr. B was determined to have Mr. A join him at the wedding, so he returned home and discussed the problem with his family. The next time they met, he greeted Mr. A with news.

"The wedding date we had picked, was not really final," he said. "So I asked my daughter and the other family, and they all agreed to push up the date to the beginning of March. But since the hall we had chosen was not available then, we had to switch to a different one, out of town. We did it happily because it's so important to us that you join in our simchah. Now will you come?"

"Of course," answered Mr. A. "I would love to attend. And I'm sorry I caused you so much inconvenience."

The wedding took place as planned, with Mr. A the most important guest of all.

Two weeks later, on the original date the wedding was planned for, there was another celebration in the same hall they had intended to use. Unfortunately, the ceiling caved in, causing many injuries and much damage; totally ruining the wedding. But Mr. B, and his family and friends, were not there and were all saved from the tragedy. This is the power of Shalom - Peace.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel