“It’s important that everyone knows that I’m so much more than the bad things that happened to me.”
“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
“I have a two percent chance of survival. But two percent is not zero percent. Two percent is something and I wish people knew how amazing it is.”
Jane Marczewski, aka Nightbirde, cancer patient/AGT contestant June 8, 2021
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/korach
KORACH (קֹרַח – Hebrew name meaning “baldness, ice, hail or frost”) – Numbers 16:1−18:32
Now Korach, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth – descendants of Reuben – to rise up against Moses, … – Numbers 16:1-2
- Korach and his followers, Dathan and Abiram, lead a rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron. God punishes the rebels by burying them and their families alive. Once again, God brings a plague on the people. (16:1-17:15)
- The chief of each tribe deposits his staff inside the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s staff brings forth sprouts, produces blossoms, and bears almonds. (17:16-26)
- The Kohanim and Levites are established and assigned the responsibility of managing the donations to the Sanctuary. All of the firstborn offerings shall go to the priests and all the tithes are designated for the Levites in return for the services they perform. (18:1-32)
1 Samuel 11:14–12:22.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korach_(parsha)
KORACH (קֹרַח – Hebrew name meaning “baldness, ice, hail or frost”) The parashah tells of Korach’s failed attempt to overthrow Moses.
[The triennial reading is Numbers 16:20-17:24 covering what happens to Korach, his people and followers. In it the absolute primacy of Moses and Aaron are confirmed through various signs and wonders. The writers are clearly interested in consolidating the authority and privilege of the priestly class.]
REFLECTION – What must we do?
Last week we read about the twelve spies sent out to scout the Promised Land and the consequences of giving into fear versus trust. This week we are presented with another such vignette. In it we read about Korach’s rebellion and its consequences.
In modern parlance, we say someone acted in a “bald-faced” manner meaning shameless and undisguised behavior or told a “bald-faced lie”. In that sense, Korach’s name fits. In the Parsha, he and his conspirators take a “bald-faced” and calculated action against Moses and Aaron.
As a result, God threatens to destroy the whole community. Once again, Moses prevails and convinces God not to do so. Whether this actually happened as described is debatable. Today some see Korach as a champion of democracy. The rabbis, however, see him as a reprehensible character who believes himself entitled to leadership as the son of Moses’ father’s eldest brother and because of his purported wealth.
The writers of the Parsha seem to take pains to ensure the absolute primacy of Moses and Aaron. By the time the first temple was built, and most certainly by the time the second temple was in existence the priestly class was most interested in consolidating and maintaining its authority and privilege. Much like those in authority today act when their hold on power and wealth seems threatened – even by those out-of-office.
In last week’s Torah Study, we had a lively exchange and discussion about negativity and positive thinking, among other things. A question arose about what does God want, sycophants or followers who think? In Torah there are several passages, including the one here and the previous Parsha, where the protagonist argues with God and prevails.
What are we to make, then, of God’s initial reaction? Anyone faced with and dealing regularly with a pessimist or negative person knows how frustrating and exasperating that can be, especially when a solution is at hand. Anger and wanting to throttle that fear-filled person can be overwhelming. As such, God’s reported reactions make sense.
It seems that trust is what we must do. We know from our tradition that trust includes questioning and even arguing with God. As Reb Nachman of Breslov says, “the world is a very narrow bridge, the important thing is not to be afraid.”
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of brutality, abuse, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, violence especially against all minority communities including us, conflicts, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, disease, pandemics, natural disasters, war and all violence.
This coming week, the 2nd through the 8th of Tamuz, we lovingly remember:
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, June 11, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial Reading Num. 16:20-17:24
Time: June 11, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: June 11, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – Congratulations to all Graduates and those celebrating an Anniversary!