This week’s Torah portion discusses: Korach’s reballion, Moses intercedes for Israel, Korach’s punishment,the incense pans, fear and complalints, Aaron saves the people, test of the staffs, duties of priests and levites, priestly share and levitical share.

Who was Koarach?

He was the grandson of Kehoth and great-grandson of Levi. He began a rebellion along with Dathan and Aviram.

He was extremely wealthy and according to tradition he was one of Pharaoh’s officials.

Who was Dathan and Aviram?

They were the sons of Eilav. They were angry that they didn’t see the land of milk and honey. Dathan and Aviram were also very wealthy in Egypt. They refused to meet with Moses after the confrontation.

What did they do?

Korach initiated the plot against Moses. He demonstrated with 250 Jewish high ranking men. Korach felt that Moses and Aaron were receiving too much responsibility. Korach initiated the speculation that maybe he could take over the role of Aaron/ “holy one”!

Dathan and Aviram were upset that they left Egypt. They felt that they were going to be killed in the desert with out seeing their inheritance of a land of milk and honey (Israel). They said to Moses, “Do you think that you can pull something over our eyes? We will definitely not come!”

What did Moses do?

Moses prayed to G-d. G-d said that in the morning all the men should take fire pans and offer incense. The person that G-d chooses will be the “holy one”. G-d did say that the sons of Levi have gone too far!

Did Moses try to reason with Korach and Dathan and Aviram?

Yes, Moses explained to Korah that the Levites have the privilege of working with the priests. He explained that you are “demanding the priesthood!” That your battle isn’t against Aaron (the high priest) but G-d! He also sent word to Dathan and Aviram but they refused to discuss any of the issues.

What happened?

G-d told Moses and Aaron in the morning of the day after to separate themselves from the community for they will be destroyed. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and prayed that the whole community shouldn’t be killed for the wrath of one man’s sins. G-d told Mosses to tell the people to withdraw from this party of three. The people with drew and than Moses announced to the masses “if these men should die a normal death than G-d didn’t send me! But if these people should die differently in an atypical way (making the earth open its mouth and swallow them and all that is theirs) than it is a sign that they provoked G-d.”

How did the Jewish people respond?

They began to scream and felt that they may also die this death. People screamed at Moses and said it was him that caused their deaths. A plague was started and a total of 14, 700 died.

Did the Jewish people receive another sign that Moses and Aaron were the “holy ones”?

Yes, G-d told Moses to take a staff from each paternal tribe. Aaron’s name will be written on the staff of Levi. They should place their staffs before the Ark of Testimony. Only a staff of the man who is G-d’s choice will blossom. The next day all the staffs were shown to the Israelites. Aarons’ staff had blossomed giving forth almonds and leaves.