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
Korach (Haftarah) [The Haftarah Commentary by Plaut-Stern, p.366]:
Connection of sidra and haftarah:
The sidra deals with Korach’s attempt to replace Moses in the leadership of the people, and in the haftarah the people try to displace God as their sovereign and want instead to have an earthly king. There are other parallels: both Moses and Samuel defend themselves by saying that they have not taken for themselves a single donkey that did not belong to them, and miracles occur in both tales to justify the status of the prophet. (There is also a significant difference: Moses appeals to God, while Samuel appeals to the people.)
From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/korach
By: Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
For Torah Study, instead of the portion from the Book of Numbers that is read on this Shabbat, we will read the Haftarah (a selection from the prophets) from I Samuel 11:14-12:22. You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.16.1-18.32, and the Haftarah at https://www.sefaria.org/I_Samuel.11.14-12.22
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
קרח Korach – Numbers 16:1–18:32
Post-biblical Interpretations – by Alyssa M. Gray, pp. 909-10
Now Korah…betook himself (16:1). Literally, “and Korah took” (va-yikach Korach), which presents a dilemma for translators and commentators since the verb lacks a direct object. What did Korah take? Midrash B’midbar Rabbah 18.4 explains that Korah “took” his tallit–and went to get advice from his wife. BT Sanhedrin 110a goes further and portrays Korah’s wife as playing an active role in the development of his resentment. She complains that Moses has become a king, his brother Aaron is chief priest, and Aaron’s sons are priests, while Levites such as Korah are disadvantaged in a number of ways. Moreover, she continues, Moses humiliated the Levites by ordering them to shave their entire bodies (8:7). Finally, Korah’s wife ridicules the commandment of tzitzit (15:37–41), which requires the presence in the fringes of t’cheilet (a blue thread). If blue thread is so important, she asks rhetorically, why not wear a cloak made entirely of blue thread?
Why does the Babylonian Talmud–and, by implication, B’midbar Rabbah–portray Korah’s wife in this negative way? Rabbi Hanokh Zundel (author of the Etz Yosef commentary on B’midbar Rabbah) hypothesized that because Dathan’s and Abiram’s wives and children were with the rebels at the fateful moment of being swallowed up (16:27), their wives must have shared their husbands’ rebellious sentiments. Presumably, Korah’s wife also agreed with Korah’s anger. Of course, in a patriarchal society, women would have had little choice but to “agree” with their husbands. Korah’s wife, however, may have had a more specific motivation: given that Korah was a first cousin of Moses and Aaron, his rebellion was a family affair–at least in part. Korah’s wife may have zealously pursued what she saw as her husband’s legitimate interests against her powerful cousins-in-law. It is also possible that the Rabbis, who often impute the worst possible motives to women, are portraying Koran’s wife as another Eve who (in rabbinic lore) is leading her innocent husband into temptation and disaster.
On son of Peleth (16:1). The Rabbis give us a different model of a rebel’s spouse in their construction of the wife of On son of Peleth. The Rabbis assume that On did not see the rebellion through to the end, and thus he was spared the collective punishment. This is because he is listed among the rebels in 16:1, but there is no specific mention of his death in 16:23–35 when the rebels are destroyed. In a story found in two versions (B’midbar Rabbah 18.20 and BT Sanhedrin 109b–110a), the Rabbis attribute On’s rescue to his wife. In both versions, On’s wife points out to him that the rebellion will leave him no better off: he is currently subordinate to Aaron; if the rebellion is successful, he will be subordinate to Korah. She observes to herself, “I know that all of the congregation is holy,” citing as proof Korah’s own words in 16:3. She then gets her husband drunk, puts him to bed, and sits at their front door with her hair undone and exposed. The holiness of the congregation is made manifest when the rebels approach the house to summon her husband–and withdraw immediately upon seeing her immodest appearance. By the time On awakens from his drunken sleep, the rebellion has been put down and the rebels destroyed.
In the version of this story in the Midrash (B’midbar Rabbah), On never speaks; we do not know if he agrees with his wife or not. We may reasonably infer that he does not; otherwise, why would she have to get him drunk to put an end to his participation in the rebellion? In the version in the Talmud, however, On appears to agree with his spouse’s assessment of his status after the rebellion. When he asks her, “What should I do?” she makes her observation about communal holiness and executes her plan to save her family from destruction.
The possible appeal to women–especially poor women–of Korah’s overall critique of the Mosaic order is illustrated differently in Midrash T’hillim 1:15. Korah is represented there as showing the injustice of Torah laws by pointing out their adverse impact on a widow with two daughters. Whether the poor widow wishes to plow, sow, harvest, or raise animals–Korah notes–Moses and Aaron are there to regulate how she should plow and sow, and to insist that she gives portions of her harvest and her herds to the priests. The widow, frustrated at all these restraints and exactions, ends up bereft and weeping together with her children.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
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 abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, 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, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 5 Tamuz through 10 Tamuz, we lovingly remember:
TKH Memorial list
Friend of Jane Kolber
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 23, 2023.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Haftarah Korach: I Samuel 11:14-12:22
Time: Jun 23, 2023 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Jun 23, 2023 07:30 PM Arizona
To join 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 – Gut Shabbos!
PS – About the Book of Samuel:
From Jewish Encyclopedia
From My Jewish Learning
Timelines from Wikipedia