Home BRI Women Parshat Korach: Accepting Other People’s Greatness (and Finding Your Own Greatness in the Process)

Parshat Korach: Accepting Other People’s Greatness (and Finding Your Own Greatness in the Process)

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

In Parsha Korach, the Torah teaches that Korach took himself away from the community and rebelled against Moshe Rabbeinu’s authority. He challenged Aaron Hakohen’s right to the priesthood. How did Korach end up being such a negative force?

Korach was a descendent of Levi (Yaakov’s son), and also Moshe and Aaron’s cousin. Korach had great potential –he was wealthy, intelligent, learned and very spiritual—but he refused to listen to Moshe Rabbeinu or accept any guidance from him. He was arrogant and haughty and felt that no one should have authority over him. After all, he was a man of stature!

Because of his inability to humbly accept that there were others that were greater than he, he stumbled. He didn’t think he needed to improve – everyone else around him needed to change, not him. Because he wouldn’t work on himself, he never got to know himself. Because Korach didn’t know who he was, he fought with everyone else around him. If he knew who he was, he could have worked on himself and fulfilled his true potential. Because he didn’t know himself, his rebellion, at the deepest level, was in effect, a rebellion against his own nekuda tova, the good point inside each of us that yearns to connect to Hashem and therefore, is drawn towards goodness and light.

In Likutey Moharan 46, Rebbe Nachman explains that a person has to be himself. He has to look deep inside himself and figure out who he is. He has to figure out, with Hashem’s help, the best way of fulfilling his life’s mission. His life’s mission is unique to him but usually involves seeking peace and avoiding conflict. He has to eventually accept it or struggle and feel tremendous anguish and dissatisfaction, even anger. When a person works on himself and he knows who he is, he creates unity and peace between all internal and external opposition.  This drive for peace and unity sweetens divine decrees. It sweetens one’s life. It brings about peace and joy.

If Korach had accepted Moshe and Aharon’s greatness, the greatness of the tzaddikim, he would have eventually come to understand his own good points, and even developed greatness himself, the greatness that was unique to him.

May you have a day in which you humbly accept the teachings of the righteous tzaddikim and develop your own personal greatness.

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