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This week's 10-Minute Torah (June 12, 2021): "Parashat Korach" 5781

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Parashat Korach / פרשת קוֹרַח

Read on 12 June 2021 (2 Tamuz 5781).

Parashat Korach is the 38th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.

Torah Portion: Numbers 16:1-18:32

Korach, a Levite, leads a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. While some sages disagree—and the Torah doesn’t always necessarily follow chronologically—many other sages believe this incident followed, and was the result of, the decree that the Children of Israel over the age of twenty would die in the Wilderness. There was a lot of discontent among the general population for Korach to try and become the new High Priest.

Moses and Aaron consulted Hashem and set up a test for who would be the true leaders. Both Aaron and his priests, and Korach and his followers would take their incense pans and offer to G-d. G-d accepted Aaron’s incense and Korach and his 250 followers were swallowed up by the earth.

At the same time, Dathan and Abiram, from the tribe of Reuben, tried also to lead a rebellion against Moses. They felt that being from the tribe of the first born, it should have been them, not the Levites, who should serve as priests and ministers. They, too, were swallowed up by the earth.

(The sons of Korach will become righteous people. They composed Psalms 45 – 49. One of their psalms, 48, is the Psalm of Day Two/Monday).

Some of the Children of Israel, seeing what happened to Korach, Dathan and Abiram, complained against Moses and Aaron, thinking that they had caused their deaths. Hashem started a plague against the complainers and Moses quickly had Aaron bring his incense pan to the Tabernacle to make atonement for the people, and the plague stopped.

The people needed more proof that Hashem had chosen Aaron. Moses had each of the heads of each tribes bring their staffs to him. In the morning, only Aaron’s staff had almonds on it.

Hashem then declares that Aaron’s family will be the Cohanim, the priests, of the Temple. They will eat the offerings that Israelites bring to the Tabernacle. G-d also tells Aaron that the first born of every human and beast will be consecrated to Him after 30 days of life. The Levites will have no share of the land in the Promised Land because Hashem is their heritage. They will receive the tithes (or one-tenth of the produce) as payment for service.

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