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July 24, 2024

Korah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Numbers 16:1 – 18:32
This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 30 – Jul 06, 2024 – 24 Sivan – 30 Sivan, 5784

In A Nutshell

The portion begins with the story of Dathan and Abiram, and 250 of the presidents of the congregation who rebelled against Moses and Aaron with what seemed like a just argument: Since the entire nation is holy, Moses and Aaron should have the same status as the rest of the people. The reply they received was that although they are all equal, Moses and Aaron are the leaders that can be in contact with the Creator. Following the mutiny, the ground swallowed the 250 presidents of the congregation, as well as Korah and his company, and the people suffered from a plague until Moses asked the Creator to end it.

The end of the portion debates the question of leadership in the nation. A test was held between all the staffs (rods) of all the leaders, and the only one that blossomed was Aaron’s staff, which signaled his unequivocal leadership.

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Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

We can interpret the explanation of the Torah (Pentateuch) on two levels—the level of this world and the level of the hidden, spiritual world. On the level of our world, the story of Korah is very relevant even today.

For thousands of years, our world has been developing through our egos. 3,800 years ago we lived in what is now known as Ancient Babylon. This is when Abraham—the quality of Hesed (mercy)—rose, as well as the priests that followed him, who are also from the quality of BinaHassadim.

Abraham discovered that the whole world must develop and achieve a state of unity and connection, and shared his revelation with the Babylonians. While many followed him, they were only a handful compared to the majority that rejected his ideas. Abraham had to flee from Babylon, chased by Nimrod, the king of Babylon.

Abraham established a method for correcting human nature. Today we call that method, “the wisdom of Kabbalah,” whose purpose is to elevate man from the depth of egoism to the level of bestowal and love.

This ascent is in fact the goal of our development—to rise from the level of this world to the level of the spiritual world. Spirituality is bestowal and the love of others, by which we acquire eternity and wholeness. This is the meaning of the text in this portion, as well as in The Book of Zohar, which talks about freedom from the angel of death.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, initially everyone in Babylon was united as one nation speaking the same language. But then the ego “plague” broke out and people started hating each other, eventually moving away from one another. Because the Babylonians didn’t take upon themselves Abraham’s method of correction (but rather that of Nimrod), humanity dispersed throughout the globe.

Kabbalah explains that from the moment when people chose between the methods, it became necessary to reunite people. That unity will come because we are compelled to reach it. Had we corrected ourselves then, we would have achieved unity back in Babylon, and would have reached the purpose of Creation—being “as one man with one heart”; we would have achieved the revelation of Godliness and would have concluded the correction. But since the Babylonians chose a different path, we are now being compelled to follow through with the correction process.

We went down to Egypt and came out of it, ascending in spirituality to the degree of the FirstTemple, followed by the SecondTemple. We went through destructions, exiles, redemptions, and today we are at the end of the last exile—beginning to rise toward the last, complete redemption.

Today we are in a very similar situation to the one that formed in Babylon. The difference is that today we have nowhere to disperse, since we have already covered the globe. While there can be many “Nimrods” today, they cannot say anything because we have already recognized the negativity in us; we are already aware that our egos are destroying human society. Reality shows that unless we unite we will disappear from the face of the earth. The worst-case scenario is that we will finish ourselves off, or that ecology and the rest of Nature will finish us off since we’re living opposite to Nature, which is God.

In GematriaHateva (Nature) is Elokim (God). We must achieve balance with Nature, and this is achieved by uniting “as one man with one heart.” Unity pertains not only to the small number of people that fled from Babylon, stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai, received the Torah, and became a nation. Rather, it pertains to everyone.

Jews must be “a light for the nations,” explaining to them Abraham’s method, by which we all unite, as it is written in the Torah, “They shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” and “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the peoples,” and also, “And all the nations shall flow unto Him.”

We are faced with a huge, crucial challenge: to finally achieve the purpose of creation. We will succeed in it only through unity between all people.

That unity can take place after great pains, which the wisdom of Kabbalah and prophets have prophesied concerning the days of the Messiah, but we can also take the method of Kabbalah, which is intended to draw the light that reforms.

Kabbalists warn us that unless we use the wisdom of Kabbalah, a third and even a fourth world war will break out, that only a handful will survive them, and they will still have to implement the purpose of creation. Hence, we have no choice but to do it. We can do it in a favorable manner, which is short, pleasant, and easy, through The Book of Zohar, the writings of the ARI (Rav Isaac Luria), and the writings of Baal HaSulam (Rav Yehuda Ashlag), using them to unite us through the light that will affect us. Kabbalah is called “the interior of the Torah,” “the true Torah (teaching/instruction),” due to the light within it. For this reason, today we must explain to everyone the need to disclose and utilize this method.

The story of Korah is a perfect example of our aforementioned words. Korah came from the tribe of Levy. Dathan, Abiram, and 250 representatives from the entire nation, all the tribes, apparently objected to the unity. They rejected the hierarchy, but there was no other choice. There must be a leader, Moses, connecting the Creator to the priests, followed by his priest brother, Aaron, the right line, the quality of mercy that they taught to the people. The ones who actualized the entire work besides the priests were the Levites, followed by the rest of the tribes, which were arranged according to the structure of the common soul.

The Creator created one soul, one desire. The people of Israel is arranged by that structure, and the rest of humanity should be connected around it. When people suddenly rise and say, “No! We want a different order; we don’t want to be so tightly connected,” it goes against the purpose of creation, against unity itself.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the rule that induces the connection between us. It is the great Klal (“rule” but also “collective”) of the Torah. It is a Klal that is a common Kli (vessel) that we build and in which t

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