REFLECTIONS FROM PARASHAH KORACH
June 12, 2021
Second of Tamuz, Fifty-Seven Eighty One
In Ecclesiastes 1:9, King Solomon reminds that no matter how much we try to change circumstances in our own strength - we will always fail by stating, “What has been is what will be, what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
As we read of the Rebellion of Korach in the Torah, we also discover that this same demonic form of discontent and contempt for biblical leadership still exists today. In his devotional commentary on the Torah, “Judaism’s Life-Changing Ideas,” the late Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his chapter, “The First Populist,” notes that “The Korach rebellion was a populist movement, and Korach himself an archetypal populist leader. Listen carefully to what he said about Moses and Aaron: ‘You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num. 16:3)
As noted by Rabbi Sacks, first insists that Moses and Aaron (God’s appointed leaders) are corrupt, and that Moses is guilty of nepotism in making his own brother the Cohen HaGadol and as a result kept the leadership within his immediate family instead of “sharing” it with “others.” Secondly, (and even more deceptive) Sacks reminds that Korach deceives the people by presenting himself as the champion of the people, that all the people are “holy” and there is nothing special at all with Moses or Aaron. Then as a crescendo of obstinance, Rabbi Sacks reminds that next “… [Korach] and his fellow rebels mount an impressive campaign of fake news - anticipating events of our own time.”
As noted by Rabbi Sacks, such campaigns are always the fruit of false teachers, heretics and even dictators and propagators of the radical-Left. They first attack the good, malign the character of those whom God has appointed, insight chaos and discord and thereafter come in with the “solution” to fix to artificial problem they have created! Such deception is always seen within cult leaders, political dissidents and both socialist and fascist dictators - who in the end, only seek to uproot the authority and will of the living God!
In last week’s Parashah (Sh’lach Lecha) we also saw this same form of rebellion with the ten spies and their embrace of the negative report, and here, such sin has come to full maturity and rebellion against the will of Adonai, where we are reminded that we cannot be in right relationship with God is we stand opposed to the leadership He ordains! Of this, it does not mean that true biblical leadership is unaccountable to authority, but it does mean that no leadership is self-appointed or taken by force.
In this, the example we must all follow is that of both Moses and Messiah Yeshua our Lord. Of Moses, Numbers 12:3 reminds, “Now this man Moshe was very humble, more so than anyone on earth, and that of Yeshua who being in the form of God - “… humbled himself still more by becoming obedient even to death - death on a stake as a criminal.” (Phil. 2:6-7)
Where populism is a politics of anger, rebellion is the counterfeit of God’s purposes and the spirit of humility which God requires of those He calls. Whether it be Moses or Yeshua, here we see the heart of God manifest where true leadership is ALWAYS servant leadership!
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
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