Vol 33.15 - Korach 1 Spanish French Audio Video
(5748) Rashi (Num. 16:15): "Do not accept their offering" The innovation of the first comment in Rashi (according to P'shat): "Do not accept the incense that they will sacrifice before You tomorrow";
The differences between the wording of the Midrash: "they have a portion in this (Minchah) offering" to that of Rashi (second comment): "they have a portion in the daily communal offerings".
The connection to Gimmel Tammuz - The day that the Rebbe Rayatz went out of prison.
Moshe’s ability to see the individual from among the group. In spreading the general concepts of Torah and communal benefits, do not overlook the benefit available for each individual.
Moshe requested that the personal offering of the 250 people, plus their portion in the communal offering be rejected; as the Nasi HaDor, Moshe could see the particulars from among the general, and service the needs of the entire people
On the verse: “Moses was exceedingly distressed, and he said to the L-rd, "Do not accept their offering etc.” Rashi states on the words: “Do not accept their offering” that:
“According to its simple meaning, (Moses said,) ‘The incense/ Ketores that they will sacrifice before You tomorrow, do not turn to them/aleihem’. According to its Midrashic interpretation, he said: I know that they have a portion in the daily communal offerings. Let their portions not be accepted favorably before You. Let the fire leave it and not consume it.”
The commentators write that the reason that Rashi needs to cite the words of the Midrash and does not suffice with the simple explanation is because – it refers to the “the incense that they will sacrifice before You tomorrow (that You should not accept it)”
But this is difficult to Rashi. For how could Moshe possibly think that G-d would accept with favor the Ketores that the evildoers would offer, and furthermore that Moshe would need to request from G-d that he “not accept it”?
Therefore Rashi cites the words of the Midrash that it refers to their ‘portion in the daily communal offerings’ that on this there is a need for a special prayer that G-d not accept with favor their offerings.
Yet one must examine this:
For this difficulty in the simple explanation is not regarding a specific part (a side-part) but rather in the entire episode. Therefore, Rashi ‘s answer has no place whatsoever. Therefore why does Rashi bring it to begin with?
And moreover, in the first and primary explanation - Rashi should have just cited the explanation of the Midrash (as we see in many places that Rashi just cites the explanation of the Midrash )?
Therefore one could say that the reason that Rashi cites (before his first explanation) the words: “According to the simple meaning the Ketores”
( and not like his style in all places where, when he explains the simple meaning (first), he does not mention that this is “According to the simple meaning”
is to emphasize that even though it is immediately evident that this explanation is difficult, nevertheless it is the explanation of the verse “According to the simple meaning” ( in other words according to the simple explanation of the wording of the this verse)
However, this explanation in the words of Rashi does not make sense at all. For it is clear that Rashi would not bring an explanation (and certainly would not preface) an explanation which is outlandish and difficult due to the subject (even if it is the simple explanation of the words of the verse)
Yet since, despite the aforementioned difficulty, Rashi cites the words: “According to the simple meaning” and not just that but prefaces it to the explanation of the “Midrash“.
One must therefore conclude that this explanation is closer to the simple explanation of the verse’s
(not just because of the entirety of the wording of the verse. But also because of the)
In other words it is closer in reconciling the words of the verse than that of the Midrash.
2. This can be understood by prefacing an examination of the precise words of Rashi.
Rashi states: “The incense that they will sacrifice before You tomorrow, do not turn to them”. In other words do not turn to the men that are offering it.
He does not write “Do not turn to it” (the Ketores ) even though:
a) This fits more to the beginning of his commentary: “the incense that they will sacrifice before You”
b) It fits with the main import of the request” "Do not turn to their offering”- that the acceptance (and turning) is to “their offering” and not to the men that are offering it
(Ramban however cites Rashi as stating: “to it” (eileha versus aleihem – the difference being an apostrophe) and this coincides with many versions of Rashi. However since most of the versions have the word as “to them”, as in our version, it is likely to discern that this is the main version. And has been explained many times, that when there are two versions of Rashi, one version simple to understand versus another version which is seemingly difficult to understand and support – that on the contrary – it is logical that that the misunderstood version, although nevertheless cited - is correct. It is also understood that the editors (or printers) changed it, for they certainly had good and proper intent and thought that their change was a rectification, that only through their redaction could the words and language be understood in the verses.)
One could therefore say that the reason that Rashi stated precisely “to them” and not “to it” to explain the verse here is because:
When Moshe said to Korach and his company:
“Korah and to all his company, sayingTake for yourselves censers and place fire into them and put incense upon them before the L-rd tomorrow, and the man whom the L-rd chooses he is the holy one”
“Do this! Take for yourselves censers: Why did he see fit to speak to them thus? He said to them, “Among the nations, there are various forms of worship and many priests, and they do not all gather in one temple. We, however, have only one G-d, one ark, one Torah, one altar, and one kohen gadol, but you two hundred and fifty men are all seeking the kehunah gedolah! I too would prefer that. Here, take for yourselves the service/tashmish most dear-it is the incense, more cherished than any other sacrifice, but it contains deadly poison, by which Nadab and Abihu were burnt. Therefore, he warned them, ”and it will be the one whom the L-rd chooses-he is the holy one“ (meaning) that he is already in his (state of) holiness. Is it not obvious that (the one) who is chosen is the holy one? Rather, Moses told them, “I am telling you this so that you should not be found guilty. For the one He chooses will survive, and the rest of you will perish."
According to this it is understood that the deciding factor that Aharon “is the holy one“ is the proof that “he will survive, and the rest of you will perish.". For since we have only “one etc. kohen gadol” and he is the only one charged with the task of offering the Ketores, and no others, it follows that the Ketores of “all of you” is a forbidden (offering of) Ketores – and a non-priest (zar) that offers Ketores is liable to death similar to Nadab and Abihu were burnt through it - and therefore “you all will perish”. And this is what is meant by “the one that emerges alive is the one whom G-d chooses”.
But all this was at the beginning (of the episode), when Moshe thought that the two hundred and fifty men were seeking the kehunah gedolah (Therefore he said: “! I too would prefer that”.
But after the dispute and the conciliatory words of peace that Moshe spoke to Korach and to the sons of Levi (“Is it not enough that G-d has distinguished you etc”), and after Moshe sent “to call Dathan and Abiram etc.” because “Moshe sought them out to conciliate them with peaceful words” – yet all his words and attempts did not help at all but they remained steadfast in their rebellion, then “Moses was very angry” – he was exceedingly distressed, and then he said to the L-rd, "Do not accept their offering etc. Do not accept the incense that they will sacrifice before You tomorrow”. In other words, their punishment should not be on par with the death of Nadav and Avihu – a punishment that they offered a strange fire, but rather: “Do not turn (at all) to them, that they should die because of their sins and rebellion.
Accordingly, Moshe’s words: “Do not turn/teifen’ instead of “do not accept/tekabel” or “Do not take/tikach” etc. fit nicely. For here, the intent is not that G-d not accept their offering of Ketores – for this is simple and what else could be the implication? (as mentioned in Par 1). But rather the meaning is that G-d should not turn to them at all, for through this it will be evident that their death was not a result of their offering Ketores (albeit in a manner that was contrary to Halacha).
And the reason for this is understood:
At the start of the episode there was room to think that the two hundred and fifty men were seeking the kehunah gedolah, believing that they were fit for the position. Moshe, therefore said that through the Ketores, it would reveal whom G-d chooses for the priesthood and that the rest of you will perish because of the deadly poison in the Ketores.
However, after Moshe saw that that the entire complaint of the two hundred and fifty distinguished men was just a parcel of the general rebellion of Korach, Dathan and Abiram on Moshe and Aharon etc. as aforementioned - the punishment could not be just for the part of offering strange Ketores, but rather, it must be such a punishment that nullifies the general and primary complaint – the entire complaint on the mission (shlichus) and priesthood of Aharon.
And this is proven from the flow of the verses:
For the verse that states the punishment of the two hundred and fifty men - “A fire came forth from the L-rd and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who had offered up the incense.” does not come in continuation of the event of their offering the Ketores, but rather after the punishment of their being swallowed; “all the men who were with Korah and all the property.”
And this is why Rashi states precisely: them and their houses, and all the men who were with Korah and all the property. “to them” and not “to it” for the offering (Mincha/Ketores). For Moshe’s request was not connected to Ketores – but (mainly) to negate a connection to a person (gavra), as aforementioned.
3. With this, one can explain the differences in the wording of the verses in the Moshe’s command regarding the offering of the Ketores. For this command was repeated twice:
The first time Moshe said:
“Do this, Korach and his company: Take for yourselves censers etc. and place fire into them and put incense upon them before the L-rd tomorrow, and the man whom the L-rd chooses he is the holy one etc."
However after “Moses was exceedingly distressed, and he said etc., "Do not accept their offering etc.” he stated a second time:
"You etc. and Aaron etc. Let each man take his censer and place incense upon it, and let each man present his censer before the L-rd”
There are two (critical) differences between these statements:
1. The first statement just says: “Take for yourselves censers etc. and place etc. before the L-rd”
However the second statement contains an additional command regarding the offering: “let each man present/v’hikravtem his censer before the L-rd”
2. The first statement does not mention that Aharon also is commanded to offer Ketores.
Whereas the second statement commands him also.
According to the aforementioned, one could say that the difference in the second statement is a result of Moshe’s request: "Do not accept their offering”
The explanation is:
After “Moses was exceedingly distressed, and he said etc., "Do not accept their offering etc.” which meant (as aforementioned at length) “, do not turn to them (at all)”, namely that they should not be punished because they offered a strange fire, but rather because of their rebellion etc. - one could posit that through Moshe’s request, he effected that it should not be considered at all, an offering of Ketores (even a strange Ketores). Therefore it required the verse to emphasize that nevertheless, it still was an act of offering Ketores (as it states): “and place it etc. before the L-rd”. (Therefore the verse states that even Aharon offered Ketores, for this emphasizes that this also was in the realm of the service of offering Ketores which pertains to the priesthood)
And the proof that it was in the category of Ketores – is because it states in the Parsha that the censers, in which they offered the Ketores became sanctified, as G-d said to Moshe:
“Say to Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen that he should pick up the censers etc. because they have become sanctified”
And Rashi explains:
“Because they have become sanctified: I.e., the censers (have become sanctified), and it is forbidden to derive personal benefit from them since they made them into service vessels.”
And if one were to say that, in actuality, their offering was not at all in the category of strange Ketores, how did they become sanctified? Therefore it is necessary for scripture to inform us here that nevertheless there was here an act of offering Ketores.
(However, at the first command that the beginning of the episode, there was no need to emphasize that this was a service/Avodah of offering Ketores. For Moshe had not yet requested “do not turn etc.”
One could say that there it was necessary just to emphasize just the quality of the Ketores , that the essential aspect of Ketores (even without the service pertaining to it) has within it the ability to test who is the “holy one” whom “the L-rd chooses”. And this fits with Rashi’s precise wording: “Here, take for yourselves the service/Tashmish most dear” where however “it contains deadly poison”. Therefore, those whom the L-rd did not choose - “will (all) perish.”)
4. Yet Rashi does not suffice with this explanation for there still remains many difficulties in reconciling the words of the verses:
From the simple flow of the verse : “Moses was exceedingly distressed, and he said to the L-rd, "Do not accept their offering etc.” it appears that this request has within it a general innovation compared to that which the Parsha discusses – namely the dispute over the priesthood of Aharon. For it is logical that Moshe should not need to make a special request that G-d do all that is necessary to refute the contention and dispute over the priesthood.
Therefore it is more fitting to explain that that this was a special request for an aspect that is not related (of itself) to the essential acts and arguments against Aharon.
And in general, it is difficult to say that the entire request of Moshe was just on the manner of not accepting of their Ketores.
Therefore because of these difficulties (which are not just specific difficulties in this commentary, but rather are problematic to the entire understanding of the verses) Rashi first states that this explanation is “According to its simple meaning”. For even though this explanation is difficult to resolve with the flow of the verses- nevertheless according to the simple meaning this is the intent of the verses.
And because of this difficulty Rashi adds: “According to its Midrashic interpretation, he said: I know that they have a portion in the daily communal offerings. Let their portions not be accepted favorably before You”.
For this aspect – that “they have a portion in the daily communal offerings” is:
a) An independent aspect that has no relevance to their offering of Ketores and neither to contention and dispute over Aharon’s priesthood, in general
b) An obligatory thing for all Bnei Yisroel have a portion in the daily communal offerings
And concerning this was (Moshe’s) special request "Do not turn to their offering” that even their portion in the daily communal offerings should not be accepted with favor but rather it should be: “Let the fire leave it and not consume it.”
And with his Moshe intended (not (only) to bring upon them another special punishment, but) to add to the negation of the contention and dispute over the priesthood. In other words to prove not only that they are unfit for the priesthood and that they deserve punishment for their dispute, but also to classify them as being excluded – namely from Klal Yisroel. For in a thing that “all Yisroel” have a partnership in – the daily communal offerings – their portion should not be accepted with favor.
However, it is understood that this explanation is not according to the simple meaning and is only in accordance with the “Midrash”. For in this verse, and in this entire Parsha it does not mention (or even hint) the aspect of “daily communal offerings”.
5. One of the surprising aspects in Halacha that arise from this Rashi is:
The Midrash states:
“I know that they have a portion in that offering/Mincha that they are offering as it states: “except for the daily Tamid offering and its Mincha offering”
Yet Rashi states: “I know that they have a portion in the daily communal offerings/Tamidei Tzibbur
One could say that Rashi is following his opinion that “Something whose value is less than a Peruta (small coin) is not considered as belonging to him (Shelo) (since it has no intrinsic value - as explained in tractate Sukkah).
Accordingly, it is impossible to say that Korach’s assembly had a portion in the offering/Mincha, for their portion was not the value of a Peruta. Therefore it could not be considered “theirs” (Shelahem). Therefore Rashi changed from the wording of the Midrash: “that offering/Mincha that they are offering” (for in one Mincha portion they certainly did have more than a peruta) and wrote: “a portion in the daily communal offerings/Tamidei Tzibbur”.
For his intent was to refer (not to the Mincha or Korban Tamid of that day, but) to the communal offerings (Tamidei Tzibbur -in the plural) of the entire year. For that portion that each person (of the two hundred and fifty men) possessed of the communal offerings of the entire year collectively could certainly be called a “portion”. Therefore, Moshe requested that “their portion in the daily communal offerings (of the entire year) not “be accepted with favor”.
And one could add in the “surprising aspects” according to the hints (remez) in Rashi that:
In the precise wording: “they have a portion in the daily communal offerings/Tamidei Tzibbur”, one can find a hint to the words of the Arizal that: “Holiness does not move from its place”. As the Alter Rebbe states that: “Even after it has gone utterly high” nevertheless “it is not detaiched completely at all from its original place and level”
One can understand this by prefacing a question on Rashi’s words: “they have a portion in the daily communal offerings”
Seemingly, aside from the (aforementioned) question from the value of the thing and the monetary law pertaining to it (since their portion is not worth the amount of a perutah) – this follows the well-known debate concerning the communal offerings that since it is something belonging to the community, it does not have any connection to an individual. For the definition of community is not a partnership of many individuals, but rather a new entity – that is in a manner that has no connection to individuals as such. Therefore it is not fitting to say that many individuals have a “portion” in it.
One could say the explanation is:
The intent of Rashi (in stating that: “they have a portion in the daily communal offerings”) is – that since all Yisroel gave a half-shekel from which the communal offerings were bought (as explained in Rashi previously) it follows that each Jew does have a portion in the “communal offerings”
And even though one must contribute the best (yafeh yafeh) to the community in order that it be considered a new entity of communal funds and of communal offerings, and not a partnership of many individuals – nevertheless since the existence of a “community” and communal funds is created through the giving of the half-shekel of each individual, it is impossible to completely nullify and remove the connection of the individual to the offering (which is obtained by the half-shekel that the gave). For this is his specific Mitzvah. And particularly since the giving of the half-shekel was to atone for his soul (“To atone for your souls”)
And in the aforementioned words of the Alter Rebbe that: “Even after it has gone utterly high” since it is in the category of community/tzibbur, nevertheless , the quality (and the holiness) that was effected by his individual contribution is “ not detached completely at all“. Therefore it is possible to say that in this that “they have a portion in the daily communal offerings”.
6. According to all the aforementioned one can also explain the precise words: “I know” (that they have a portion in the daily communal offerings”) for this is seemingly superfluous for it could have just said: “they have a portion in the daily communal offerings” etc.
But the explanation is:
This aforementioned aspect that, even after their half-shekel became an object of the communal funds, there is a connection of the individual to the communal offerings that was purchased through the giving of his half-shekel, nevertheless this is not something that is given to each person of his own accord, but rather it is due to Moshe Rabbeinu – for he is the leader of the generation (Nassi HaDor).
For according to the nature and order of things, community and individual are two opposite categories and concepts. Just as it is with the Korban offerings that the communal offerings and private offerings are two different types that are not alike. (and from this it has developed in the conduct of the world, that there are two general types of social conduct of groups of people (or countries etc.) One group stresses the needs of the community and its general (welfare), even when they considering the specifics and individual and they are minimizing them or even negating them.
And there is a conduct that stresses the freedom and the good and benefit of the individual, each one separately (so much so that sometimes they disregard the needs of the community and general welfare over that of the individual). For in this order of conduct, the quality of the particular and individual determine the social conduct)
But all this is in from the realm of “Order/Seder”. The seder of the community and the seder of the individual, if its own accord.
However, from the Nassi HaDor’s (leader of the generation) perspective and the “leader is everything” (Nassi hu haKol) - he has the ability and deeds to unite the two qualities. Just as it is with the Nassi himself – these two qualities. And just as it is with the entity of Nassi himself – for these two aspects are included within the Nassi himself - from one side he is an individual and on the other side all of his aspects and deeds are related and concern the entire group.
The same is with the aspect of leadership (nsiut) within him. For the leadership is not just a leadership on the entire group but he is the leader of each person as a distinct individual (and one could say that this is relates to the precise wording of Rashba who states: “The king is like the community (tzibbur) for the community and all Yisroel are dependent upon him”. The dependency on the king is not just a dependency of the community/tzibbur and the group, which is one entity. But rather it is the dependency of all Yisroel each one distinct (a multitude of individuals).
Therefore specifically from Moshe the “nassi HaDor” is the knowledge drawn down (the deed and actual fruition) that even the communal offerings , where all of them are considered the offering of the community and not an offering of partners, the partnership of individuals - does not nullify the portion of the individual. Therefore the funds that are in (the offering of the ) community which is more lofty and is another completeness entirely, has a connection also to the individual- not just as a portion of the community but also as a portion and individual of his own accord.
7. Parshat Korach falls out in many years close to Gimmel Tammuz, the day that “freedom was given to him” to the Rebbe Rayatz, the Nassi HaDor from the imprisonment that was due to spreading Torah and strengthening of Mitzvot (Chizuk HaDat)
And this aforementioned point and topic can be found in the “great Avodah” that he did in “spreading Torah and strengthening of Mitzvot”. For even though there were great and broad measures conducted that were connected to the community and Klal Yisroel (both in this country and how much more so after he left that country) nevertheless it did not detract, G-d forbid, from the enquiry and endeavor for the benefit of the individual and his part in spiritual as well as physical matters. So much so that he risked himself for an individual, even though the person that he was aiding was, not only not of the category of “his friend/Chaveiro in Torah and Mitzvot” but not of his caliber at all.
And this quality is drawn down by the Nassi HaDor to each person that follows his path and endeavors to spread Torah and the strengthening of our people, that they should be able to occupy themselves and to accomplish in the spreading of Judaism and the wellsprings (of Chassidus) to the whole and to the community, together with not detracting in the endeavoring for the benefit of the individual.
And through this Avodah in the aforementioned manner we will effect Geulah not just for Klal Yisroel as a whole, but also for each person individually (as it was with the redemption of the Rebbe Rayatz on Yud-Beis, Yd-Gimmel Tammuz, as it is specified in his famous letter: “Not only was I redeemed by G-d on Yud-Beis Tammuz but rather, all those who hold our holly Torah dear, who keep Mitzvot and also those who are just called Jewish in name only. For each Jewish person (without considering his particular stance in the observance and keeping of Mitzvot) has his heart pure with G-d and his Torah”)
For G-d will redeem not just Klal Yisroel, but each and every individual as it states: “and you shall be gathered one by one”, and as Rashi comments: “That G-d Himself will literally take each individual Jew with His very hands”. All will be united together into “A great assembly (Kahal Gadol) that will “return there” with the true and complete Geulah, speedily and in our times (B’agala didan) mamosh.
M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Korach 5747, Yud-Alef Nisan 5731
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