Parshah

Korach: No Status Quo

Another episode of conflict, I presume? The parshah may bear the name of Korach, but we cannot...

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It had been a long time since he had spoken with his father. Too long. A few months back, they had gotten into a heated disagreement, and things hadn’t been the same since. It wasn’t always like this, of course. His father was his role model, his hero growing up. He was an only child, and his father had been his teacher, his mentor, and in many ways, his best friend. Many of his greatest memories featured time spent bonding with his father. And now, he couldn’t help but wonder how they had gotten to this point. They never fought, ever. That’s it, he thought, I’m going to call him, I’m going to set things straight and schedule a special breakfast for next week. He was about to pick up the phone, when he looked at his schedule. He was pretty booked for the next few days, so it made more sense to call to schedule for next week. He also had a meeting in 15 minutes, so their conversation would be curtailed if he called now. He phoned his secretary:

It turns out, Har Sinai wasn’t so small after all.

Young children are taught many songs before Shavuos, including the classic where Har Sinai cries that it is not tall or wide enough to host Matan Torah. But in the end, “From all the mountains, Hashem chose Sinai” - specifically because it was so unassuming. The lesson is that true Kabbalas HaTorah can only be achieved by those willing to submissively adhere to a Divine set of laws and humbly respect the opinions of others. This is why Hashem chose to transmit the Torah on the lowest of all the mountains (Sotah 5a).

When is it appropriate to not believe in Hashem?

Parshas B’Har opens with the laws of sh’mitah, including Hashem’s promise to provide for the Jewish people throughout the year when their fields are left fallow. The Torah then suddenly shifts to discuss the obligation to support a fellow Jew in financial need. What is the connection between these two topics, sh’mitah and charity? Or, to quote from Rashi’s opening comment on the parshah: “Mah inyan sh’mitah eitzel Har Sinai?”

We experience life through the medium of time. Each new moment brings with it new opportunities as we ascend through the journey of time. Amidst the constantly moving waves of time, the chagim (holidays) are specific points imbued with unique energy. Each holiday presents us with the opportunity to tap into and experience the theme inherent at that point in time.