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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Korach 38-1


Numbers 16:1-13

Now Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi, with Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eli'av, and On, the son of Pelet, sons of Re'uven, took men

Num. 16:1 HNV

Can jealousy lead to rebellion?

Korach was not the appointed leader of the Kehatites, but Elitzafan, his younger cousin was. How do the older brothers, sisters, and cousins feel when the youngest is chosen to be their leader? Could it have been this family situation that caused Korach to become envious and later rebellious?

How did Yishmael react when his younger brother was chosen as the carrier of the promise? How did Esav react when his younger brother was given the birthright and the blessing in his place? They became jealous and bitter. This bitter jealousy was then carried over to their children and grandchildren, generation after generation, and has become the main reason for the antagonism between Arabs and Jews, Islam and Judaism, Romans and Jews, Christianity and Judaism.

The descendants of Yishmael embraced a religion that breeds Jew-hatred. The same thing has happened with Christianity, which was founded on an unwillingness to be like the Jews. The descendants of Esav founded the Roman Empire, and that is why this Jew-hatred can be found throughout the Roman system. The Roman religion has a deep rooted a Jew-hatred. The root of this hatred can be traced to a family situation.

The breeding ground for Korach’s rebellion was the situation in his family, in which his younger cousin was appointed leader over him while he was not given any position beyond the normal Levite ministry. How important it is to make sure that jealousy is rooted out of our hearts!

Some might feel that HaShem ought to have given Korach an important position so that he would not have become so angry and rebellious, but it does not work that way in the Kingdom. HaShem is not the problem. Jealousy and a lack of humility in the flesh is the problem. Giving the power-hungry person a position of responsibility is not the solution, but rather that he humbles himself and learns to submit to the leaders that HaShem has placed over him. This was the medicine that HaShem gave Korach, but he did not want to take it and deal with the sin in his soul. Instead he let the rebellion develop to such an extent.

There are several examples in the Torah where the older brothers did not become jealous of their younger brothers when they received more important positions than themselves, such as for instance Moshe and Aharon, Efrayim and Menashe.

What greatness there was in Yosef, who managed to instill the Torah in his two oldest sons so that they did not live according to the same jealousy and discord that he had experienced among his own brothers! Yosef was able to break the generational curse and to battle and do away with all forms of jealousy in his own family.

In the same way, Korach’s descendants managed to break the generational curse so that they could become authors of several of the Psalms in the Scriptures. They were Levites and were given important positions. The prophet Shmuel was a descendant of Korach, (1 Chron. 6:33-38). One who is content and faithful in the position and calling that the Eternal has given him will receive a great reward. If we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of HaShem, He will raise us up in His time, as it is written in 1 Peter 5:5-6: "Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elder. Yes, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (HNV)

Korach rebelled and lost everything. He was swallowed up by the earth along with all who followed him in his rebellious spirit. A few of his descendants, however, were able to save their lives through teshuvah, repentance.

May HaShem, who is good, deliver us from all kinds of jealousy and rebellion.

Shavua tov,


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