There is, some would say, a challenging understanding and teaching about this portion. If you read the literal story, Korach comes out as a very bad guy. He’s jealous, it seems, of the leadership of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron. He’s jealous of the leadership of another one of his relatives, Elitzafan, because Korach believes he should have his job. And therefore he leads a revolution against Moses. He gathers 250 other people as his core group, and amongst them begins to get more and more people to believe that Moses’ leadership is not ordained or directed by the Creator. That is the uprising Korach leads in the literal reading of this week’s portion.
But when the kabbalists view this story, they view Korach as a tremendously elevated soul. It’s known that, for instance, one of the great kabbalists, Rabbi Naftali of Rufshitz, was a descendent of Korach. And whenever he mentioned... read more