Vol 33.25 - Pinchas 2 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Chumash|
(5748 Vol. 33,XXXIII Pg 170)
1. On the verse (Num. 26:11):
“Korach's sons, however, did not die”.
“Korah’s sons, however, did not die: They were originally involved in the conspiracy, but during the dispute they contemplated repentance; therefore, an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom, and they stayed there”.
The commentators state that Rashi’s intent is to resolve a contradiction in the simple understanding of the verses. For how is it possible to say that “Korach’s sons did not die” since it clearly states previously in Parshat Korach (Num. 16:32):
“The earth beneath them . . swallowed them . . and all the men who were with Korach”.
(Which plainly includes, and primarily so, Korach’s sons)?
Therefore, Rashi explains that they were indeed swallowed in the earth. However, they did not die, for “an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom, and they stayed there”. And the reason that they did “not die” was because “during the dispute they contemplated repentance in their heart”.
However, Rashi’s elaborate wording that “They were originally involved in the conspiracy, but during the dispute they contemplated repentance in their heart” requires explanation:
For seemingly, Rashi could have concisely said , “Since they did Teshuva, therefore an elevated area etc.”, similar to Rashi’s wording previously in Parshat Korach,
(When he explains the reason that Korach entered himself into a dispute against Moshe, that it was because:
“He saw prophetically a chain of great people descended from him: Shmuel, who is equal to Moshe and Aaron etc. (He also saw) twenty-four Levite watches emanating from his grandsons etc.”, where Rashi concludes,)
“He did not ”see" properly, for his sons repented”.
One can simply say that Rashi’s intent in this is to explain why Korach’s sons were punished, at all (to be swallowed in the earth), for they did Teshuvah?
Therefore, Rashi writes “they were originally involved in the conspiracy”. Moreover, their Teshuvah was not complete Teshuva, for they just “contemplated repentance in their heart”. Therefore, they received this punishment (that they were swallowed in the earth). However, since they, at least, contemplated Teshuvah, therefore, they “did not die” but rather “an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom, and they stayed there”.
However, this still does not explain the precise wordings of Rashi in his comment, as follows:
This is not understood:
and to note that the Targum Yonason and the Targum Yerushalmi, explain that they were not part of Korach’s conspiracy –
is understood. For it expressly states, as aforementioned, that all the people that were with Korach, were swallowed in the earth. Therefore, it is probable to say, that this was due to their joining in the dispute. However, how does Rashi know that “they were originally involved in the conspiracy”?
(Not only did they join in Korach and his assembly’s dispute but)
“They were originally involved in the conspiracy”
(Without this reason they were deserving of punishment since they did not do complete Teshuvah)?
"With this you shall know that the L-rd sent me . .If these men die as all men die etc.”.
Therefore, their Teshuva did not help at that time, to nullify their punishment completely, and therefore, they were swallowed up.
2. One could say that Rashi’s intent is to explain the reason that they were punished, and after this - saved. Moreover, in an unusual (and miraculous) manner that we do not find in the entire Torah. They were swallowed up together with (Korach and) Dathan and Aviram and their families. Yet on the other hand, in that place itself “an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom, and they stayed there”.
(And especially since there is room to say that with the word “they stayed there”, Rashi intends that they stayed there in tranquility, similar to Rashi’s explanation, “Yaakov settled - Yaakov was seeking to live in tranquility”.
Therefore, what is the aspect of such a punishment, for it is contradictory. They are in the earth (in Gehinom) yet there itself they are in a “high” place and in a manner that “an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom” (and they stayed there in tranquility)?
Therefore, in order to answer this question, Rashi precisely states, “during the dispute they contemplated repentance; therefore, an elevated area was set apart for them etc.”
In other words, the deficiency of the Teshuvah of Korach’s sons was that it was just contemplation of the heart, in a manner that no one knew of it - and not verbally confessed. Moreover, on the contrary, their Teshuvah was during the dispute. In other words, outwardly, it still appeared as if they were continuing in the dispute, yet together with this, they contemplated repentance.
(However, in Rashi’s commentary on Tehillim (42:1) he writes, “During the dispute, they removed themselves (from the dispute)”. However, since in his commentary on the Torah, he writes plainly that “they contemplated repentance in their hearts” (and he does not write that they “separated”), it is understood that from the simple understanding of the verses (in the Chumash), it appears that they did not separate themselves from the dispute.
(The simple reason being that if they would have indeed separated themselves, they would not have been swallowed in the earth),
and they only they contemplated repentance in their hearts)
Therefore, their punishment was unusual, as aforementioned. For this was measure for measure (מדה כנגד מדה). Just as their conduct was contradictory. Namely, that in actuality and visibly, it was not recognizable that they separated themselves from the dispute, and that only secretly their thoughts and contemplations were separate from the other assembly of Korach – so too their punishment was in this measure. All Yisroel saw that they were punished in the same manner as Korach and his assembly, in that they were all swallowed, like them, in the earth. However, in that place, their being swallowed in the earth was in a separate manner than the others, as Rashi states, “an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom, and they stayed there”
3. One could say, that with this, Rashi answers, in an inadvertent manner (as is his style) a general puzzlement in this verse.
For what is this verse, “Korach’s sons did not die” doing here?
The place for telling that Korach’s sons did not die, due to their Teshuva, should have been in Parshat Korach, where the Torah tells of the episode itself.
One could plainly say that, there is a necessity in our Parsha here, to tell us that they did not die, in order that we not ask why the “family of Korach” is enumerated among the families of the sons of Levi.
Therefore, Scripture prefaces by stating, “Korach’s sons did not die”. For since they did not die while being swallowed in the earth and “an elevated area was set apart for them . . and they stayed there”, it is probable to say that in the intervening period, that they emerged from there, and from them (as Rashi writes previously , as aforementioned, in Parshat Korach), “Shmuel HaNavi and the twenty-four Levite watches emanated etc.
(Many of the commentators of Rashi write that Rashi‘s intent in writing “an elevated area . . and they stayed there” is that Korach’s sons remained there forever.
However, their words require severe examination:
Since Rashi explicitly writes that Shmuel the prophet and the twenty-four Levite watches descended from the Korach’s sons , since they did Teshuva, Therefore, one must say, that, ultimately, they emerged alive from the earth. Moreover, since in our Parsha, Moshe enumerates the “family of Korach”, it proves that during the time of Moshe, they already were a living family).
Yet, there still is no resolution to the aforementioned question, namely, why did not Scripture, preface and write that “Korach’s sons did not die”, in its proper place - in Parshat Korach and that the “family of Korach”, remained?
There are those that comment that this is:
“Due to Moshe’s honor. For Moshe said: “if the L-rd creates a creation . . and they and all that is theirs, descend etc.”. Therefore, if it would have mentioned here that his sons did not die, it would have been a denigration to Moshe. For his prayer was not effective, for their remnant remained in the land”.
However, this answer requires examination:
For, “Korach’s sons” not dying is not a contradiction, at all, to Moshe’s prayer “if the L-rd creates a creation . . and they and all that is theirs, descend etc.”. For, in actuality, his prayer was fulfilled, and they indeed also descended alive to their grave. It is just that afterward, “an elevated area was set apart for them in Gehinnom”. Therefore, there is no denigration to Moshe.
(On the contrary, since Moshe wanted and endeavored that they do Teshuva, this is a praise of Moshe. For he at least accomplished that Korach’s sons did Teshuvah).
4. One could explain this, by prefacing an explanation of the precise wording of the wording of the verse in Parshat Korach, regarding the punishment of being swallowed up – “They . . descended alive into the grave; the earth covered them up, and they were lost to the assembly.”
Seemingly, what is the reason for the precise words: “and they perished from the assembly”? Scripture could have plainly stated that “they perished” or “they perished from the land” and so forth.
However, according to what has been explained, regarding their sin and the Teshuvah of Korach’s sons, one could say that the punishment of Korach’s sons was only that they perish “from that assembly”.
In other words from the assembly that saw, with their own eyes, their partnering in the dispute, however, not their Teshuvah. Therefore, it was necessary that they perish from this assembly. Whereas with another assembly (who were not witnesses in the matter), there is no cause that they perish from it.
This is the reason that it does not state previously that “Korach’s sons did not die”. For only after, the assembly that was at the time of the dispute, no longer existed, as Rashi states previously (in Parshat Chukat) that in this assembly “Not one of them was among those included in the decree, for those who were to die in the wilderness, had perished’, were they able to emerge from their place. And only then was it revealed to Bnei Yisroel that “Korach’s sons did not die”.
5. Yet the matter is still not entirely resolved.
For this verse, “Korach’s sons did not die” comes
(in conclusion to the enumeration of the families of Reuven -)
following the story of Dathan and Aviram the sons of Eliab ( the son of Palu ben Reuven), as it states, “They are Dathan and Aviram, the chosen of the congregation who incited against Moshe . . when they incited against the L-rd. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them etc.”
Seemingly, it would have been more fitting to write this aspect, in the place where Scripture enumerates the families of the sons of Levi, and among the list the “family of Korach”.
One could say, plainly, that since Scripture is telling us regarding the swallowing of Dathan and Aviram, therefore, the verse concludes with the topic of the swallowing, concisely. Namely, that “Korach’s sons did not die”.
(Whereas if it would have been written in the section regarding the family of the sons of Levi, Scripture would have had to repeat again the matter of the dispute and the swallowing).
However, this is somewhat problematic due to the topic of the aspects.
For since the verse comes to allude to the Teshuvah of Korach’s sons, because of which they did not die, it is not fitting to mention Korach’s sons in same context with the story of these evildoers, Dathan and Aviram, who perished together with all that is theirs.
In order to answer this question, Rashi prefaces “They were originally involved in the conspiracy”:
The reason that Scripture combines the aspect of “Korach’s sons did not die” with the story of Dathan and Aviram, comes to teach us regarding the similarity and comparison between them in the severity of the dispute.
For just as Dathan and Aviram were those “who incited against Moshe”, and as Rashi explains, “They enticed Israel to quarrel with Moshe”.
In other words, it is not just that they entered themselves into the assembly of the quarrelers. But that they “incited” and “enticed” quarrelling, with schemes and advice on how to contend against Moshe and G-d
(This was the severity of the sin of Dathan and Aviram, for which they, and all that is theirs, perished. For we do not find (explicitly in the Chumash) a punishment such as this in the entire forty years that Yisroel were in the desert (and also not with regard to the two hundred and fifty men from Korach’s assembly) –
So too was it with Korach’s sons. They also were “originally involved in the conspiracy”.
This is the great wonder in the aspect of Korach’s sons. Namely, that although they were originally involved in the conspiracy, like Dathan and Aviram, nevertheless since they “contemplated repentance in their heart”, they escaped from the grave, so much so that Shmuel the prophet and twenty-four Levite watches etc.” descended from them.
One could say that this aspect – the difference between Dathan and Aviram and Korach’s sons – fits with the general topic of the counting of Bnei Yisroel, which was “after the plague”. And as Rashi writes that the counting was in order to “know the count of those that remained”.
In conjunction with this, Scripture tells us regarding the assembly of Korach. Namely, that among those, whom destruction was decreed upon (“They and all that was theirs perished without a trace remaining”) there were those that “remained” – and “Korach’s sons did not die”.
6. From all of the aforementioned, there is a lesson regarding the tremendous power of Teshuvah – which has the ability to change and transform a person from one extreme to the other:
Korach’s sons, in the beginning were at the lowest extreme. As it states, they were originally involved in the conspiracy. In other words, not only did they falter in the sin of being involved in the dispute, but they were in the realm of those that caused others to sin (מחטיאים את הרבים), to contend against Moshe and G-d.
Moreover, even their Teshuvah was not a complete Teshuvah. On the contrary, it was just they contemplated repentance in their heart. Visibly, However, they were – “in (at the time of) the dispute”. For their thoughts of Teshuvah were not strong enough to effect that they should openly separate themselves from the dispute.
Nevertheless, not only did the merit of the thoughts of Teshuvah save them from the punishment that was meted out to Korach’s assembly, but more than this. Even at the time of the punishment itself, while they were swallowed in Gehinom, their stay was in “tranquility”, in an elevated and unique place.
So much so, that they reached the highest echelon – that they “sang song” (אמרו שירה). Moreover, the words of their song and their psalms were included in Sefer Tehillim, even including the psalm “a song with musical accompaniment, whose foundation is on the mountains of the Sanctuary”.
From this it is understood, even much more so and with a kal v’chomer etc. etc. (בכ״ש וק״ו וכו׳ וכו׳) with regard to the Future Geulah that is to come, where Rambam rules that “In the end Yisroel will do Teshuva . . and they will immediately be redeemed”.
That, after the myriad of Torah study and Mitzvot, with Mesirat Nefesh, that has transpired, during the lengthy duration of Galut, the very contemplation of Teshuvah, is sufficient and enough to immediately bring the actual Geulah of Yisroel, as it states: “And to Zion it will be said, "Man after man was born in her," and He will establish it on high”.
With the true and complete Geulah through our righteous Moshiach.
MSichas Shabbat Parshat Pinchas 5737
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|