Parshas Korach
Numbers 16:1 - 18:32
Fallen Leadership! ©
By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Paul Sakash, may he rest in

Dwelling on the issue that Jewish leaders fail is not pleasant. Yet the Torah does speak about the failings of
leadership often. Each time the Torah addresses this subject it is for a specific purpose. Last week in
Parshas Shlach we discussed humiliation brought on by a Jewish leader. This week in Parshas Korach we
again observe serious failings of leadership. The failings of these distinguished leaders resulted in their
deaths and the deaths of their wives and children. Everything they possessed was swallowed up in a
Supernatural Earthquake. Numbers 16:20 -33 Then the 250 men who followed them also died. Hashem
sent forth a consuming fire that took their lives. Numbers 16:35

Here we observe that certain leaders publicly made false claims regarding Moshe and Aharon. They were
intent on creating a greater problem among Kal Yisroel. They violated the Torah command, "Do not
slander among your people."
Leviticus 19:16.

We read, "And took Korach, son of Yeetz Hawr, son of Ki Haws, son of Levi and Dashan and Aviram,
sons of Eliab and Oon, the son of Pehles, sons of Reuvein. And they came against Moshe along with two
hundred fifty distinguished men from Yisroel, leaders, witnesses [of the congregation], men called to
[important] meetings, men of prominent name. And they gathered against Moshe and against Aharon
saying to them, 'You [have taken] plenty [of distinction] for yourselves even though all witnesses [of the
congregation] are holy with Hashem in their midst. Why do you lift yourselves above the assembly?"
Numbers 16:1-4

Essentially they were affronting Moshe and Aharon in public. Their issues could have been addressed in
private. They were NOT! Korach, Dashan and Aviram were set on a public display! Their intent was to
make this a public issue. They were attempting to gather support for their positions. Their aim was to strip
Moshe and Aharon of their powerful positions.

Holy reader, the Torah discusses this issue openly because it is necessary. The honor, respect and
obedience to G-d's Word, the Torah, is seriously questioned by three very respected leaders, men who
were distinguished. These men made false claims against Moshe and Aharon. They were set on open
rebellion. Their intent was to upset Kal Yisroel, and in this they succeeded. That being the situation Moshe
was required to write this story in the Torah to defend G-d's Commands and to prove that he and Aharon
were innocent of the false charges brought by Korach, Dashan and Aviram.

We notice that Hashem was extremely angry with "the entire congregation of Yisroel." Numbers 16:21
WHY? Our sages say it was because Korach went throughout all the congregation enticing them to revolt.
He mocked Moshe and Aharon the entire night, and by morning had essentially convinced Kal Yisroel to
revolt. This demonstrates the power of Korach's voice and the strength of his leadership.

Among Kal Yisroel today we don't see such a powerful leader with the ability to unite all of our people for
any cause let alone open rebellion against Hashem's appointed leadership, G-d forbid such a thing. So, holy
reader, this was an affront against Hashem. In our world today we have leaders who challenge the Torah
and question the Torah but not on the same level as Korach did. The leaders that do such things are not
distinguished like Korach was. So I am not suggesting in this discussion that we have Jewish leaders living
today who have committed or who are capable of committing such offenses as Korach did, even though
we do have problematic leadership on a much, much lower level. Our discussion here is about fallen
leadership of the past, specifically Korach, Dashan and Aviram. Their offenses were much greater! This is
why Moshe properly called them "EVIL MEN"! This is why the earth opened and they went down to
their grave alive.

So, holy reader, while we have problems with small pockets of Jewish leadership as I discussed last week,
it is just that LITTLE and LIMITED! Thank G-d! Much of our Jewish leadership today is GOOD! The
intention of stories like last week is NOT to focus on the leadership but how to rebound when we suffer

In this week's parsha Hashem had to respond in a most powerful way to demonstrate His disapproval of
Korach's lies and false charges against Moshe and Aharon. Yet, even though we do not witness such
displays of Hashem's judgment in our day, that does not mean the Alm-ghty approves of actions like we
discussed last week. G-d does NOT approve! Even though humiliation is horrible it does not come close to
Korach's actions and does not warrant such Judgment!

So, dear reader, when we speak of fallen leadership in this week's parsha it is in reference to Korach,
Dashan and Aviram who were fallen and who were engulfed by the earth as a result of their fallen
condition. They were indeed the fallen leadership.

May Hashem continue to bless us the Jewish people with good quality leaders who carefully and lovingly
guide us to higher levels of Torah learning and greater depths of observance.

Good Shabbos,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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