Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 16, v. 1: "Va'yikach Korach" - The mishnoh Pirkei Ovos 5:20 cites the dissent of Korach and his cohorts as an argument that was not for the sake of Heaven, and concludes that such an argument will not endure. First the mishnoh cites the Talmudic disagreements between Shamai and Hillel as being for the sake of Heaven, and states that they will endure.

In the previous chapter (4:14) the mishnoh similarly states in the name of Rabbi Yochonon haSandler that an assemblage for the sake of Heaven will endure, while one that is not for the sake of Heaven will not. There the mishnoh cites no examples for the two assemblages. Why? This is because one can easily note if an assemblage is for the sake of Heaven or otherwise, so there is no need to bring examples. When it comes to arguments, one can easily be fooled into believing that they are for the sake of Heaven even when they are not. Therefore citing examples is very necessary. (Imrei Emes)

Ch. 16, v. 2: "Kri'ei mo'eid anshei shem" - One might wonder why it was specifically a group of people that already had honour that argued with Moshe, rather than common folk. However, the exact opposite is true. Specifically one who has tasted the opiate affect of honour craves more and more. (Imrei Chein)

Ch. 16, v. 4: "Va'yishma Moshe va'yipol al ponov" - The gemara Sanhedrin 110a says in the name of Rabbi Yonoson that Moshe fell flat on his face out of embarrassment, because people claimed that he behaved improperly with their wives. Of all the ludicrous claims! It was in exactly this matter that Moshe shone above and beyond all others! He restrained himself even with his wife. In spite of this, this complaint spread and was accepted to the point that many people started believing this and warned their wives to keep their distance from Moshe.

Ch. 16, v. 5: "Boker v'yoda Hashem" - Moshe pushed them off until the morning as a test to the truth of their claims. The gemara Shabbos 104a and Osyos d'Rebbi Akiva say that falsehood, "sheker," Shin-Kuf-Reish, is spelled with letters that have a configuration that has no solid base. This teaches us that falsehood has no solid base and cannot be maintained for a period of time. Similarly, these letters come one after another, again an allusion to the same point, that falsehood does not last. "Emes," spelled Alef-Mem-Tof, consists of letters that have either a wide base or two solid legs. Also its letters span the beginning, middle, and end of the Alef-Beis, indicative of truth's enduring. Moshe pushed them off until the next morning, alluding to falsehood not lasting for very long. (Nirreh li)

Ch. 16, v. 12: "Va'yishlach Moshe" - Rashi derives from the fact that Moshe even bothered to send for Doson and Avirom in an attempt to quell their complaints, that "ein machazikin b'machlo'kes," one does not take part and strengthen a quarrel. The words "ein machazikin" can be explained differently. Doson and Avirom already picked quarrels in Egypt, fighting with each other, tale bearing against Moshe, and in the desert by leaving over manna to test Moshe's words. We might assume that they are hopelessly quarrelsome, having a "chazokoh" to fight. Moshe's not giving up, and sending for them teaches us that we must always attempt to clam down dissent, and not say that one has a "chazokoh" to argue. (Rabbi Shimon Sofer)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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