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by Daneal Weiner

Welcome. Enough of the small talk. Let's talk Torah. When two parsha's are next to each other there is something to be learned from the connection. Last week Rashi wanted to know why Shlach comes right after Beha'aloscha? So why doesn't Rashi openly ask the question about every parsha? Why suddenly there and then?

The end of parshas BeHa'aloscha (2 weeks ago) says, (12:15,16)"So Miriam was quarantined outside the camp and the people did not journey... Then the people journeyed from CHATSEROS, and they encamped in the wilderness of PARAN." The beginning of last weeks Shlach says (13:3) "Moses sent them forth from the wilderness of PARAN..." It may seem repetitive but everything is in order till we look ahead at the opening of the book of Devarim(1:1) "These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel...opposite the Sea of Reeds, between PARAN and Tophel, and Laban, and CHATSEROS, and Di'zahab." Also seems in order till youread Rashi. Rashi says, "Chatseros: that's where the incident with Korach was."

What? No! Chatserot is where they were with Miriam, then Paran and the spies, then Korach. And Rashi says that Korach happened by Chatserot? That means parshas Korach should come BEFORE Shlach?! Ah, so that's why Rashi wanted to know, "Why is parsha Shlach next to B'Haloscha?" Great question, Rashi!

As the world knows, the answer is that the 12 spies were to learn a lesson from the lashon horah of Miriam and not speak it about Erets Yisroel. Yehoshua succeeded, but he was the prize pupil of Moshe and had his name changed. Of the remaining 11, 10 failed. Calev was the only one who succeeded. Why did just he learn the lesson from Miriam and no one else? My Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Osher Reich answers, because Calev was married to Miriam!!! (seeChronicals I,2:19) The 7 days she was kicked out of the camp, he was alone in the tent with the kids! They're screamin' "We want mommy", diapers need changing, the dishes are piling up, the mon tastes like peanut butter sandwiches, there's sand every where and Calev is grumbling to himself, "If anybody in this house ever speaks lashon horah again they'll be in deep trouble!" Great answer, Rabbi!

Speaking of deep trouble, lets get deep into this weeks

Parshas Korach.
How about 1 word deep? The first word of the parsha is,"Vayikach," literally, "And he [Korach] took." Artscroll translates the verse as him 'separating' himself, that is taking himself aside. That may be the context, but 'VaYikach' from the root `kach' certainly is a language of taking. The Gemorah Sanhedrin asks, what did he take? Raish Lakish answers, he took a bum deal, the short end of the stick, a lemon, London Bridge, swamp land in Guam. Another great answer...Wait a minute. That doesn't answer anything. Even in a bum deal you get something! It may not work but you get something?! So even with Raish Lakish's answer, we still have the question, what did Korach get?

This is what is asked by the B'eir Yoseph. He then starts off his answer with, of course, a question. How does Korach even think to take on the likes of Moshe and Aaron? Rashi on verse 7 says he saw with Divine inspiration that Shmuel Hanavi was to descend from him as well as 24 rotations of Levites performing Temple duties. That's 288 Levites, themselves all prophets. 289 holy descendants. Very important people. How could they descend without Korach himself at the top? Ergo, he must be right.

This warrants another question. We know Korach is wrong! How is a loser entitled to such tremendous descendants? Was he really not so bad? Then how come he was swallowed live into the pit of Gehenom upon which the same Gemorah Sanhedrin says "Korach has no share in the world to come"? Now that's bad!

Finally the moment you've been waiting for. The B'eir Yoseph's answer in the form of an answer! It was because Korach was that bad that he merited his descendants! Thank you. Thank you everybody. Good night. Drive safe.

Ok, I'll explain! When G-d destroyed Sodom, Lot & family were saved and they were told not to turn around to look at the upheaval or they will become pillars of salt. Why was that?Because any manifestation of H' is an awe-inspiring (understatement) thing to behold! So one has to be on a level worthy of seeing it. Especially G-ds exacting of punishment! We are always asking why do the bad flourish? Wouldn't we like once for H' to show us the bad guy getting his? All we have to do is deserve it. Lot's wife did not deserve it. This is the same argument as to whether Noach had a window in the Ark for light or if it was a precious stone that let in the light. Was Noach on a level to be able to look out at the destruction or not? The generation of Jews were on a high level in the desert. What did they see?

Not only does the Torah says in v.16:32 that the earth opened its mouth and swallowed Korach & cohorts and their households and all that was theirs, but again in v.33 it says, "They and all that was theirs descended..." What's does verse 33 tell us that 32 didn't? That EVERYTHING that belonged to them went into the pit.E_v_e_r_y_t_h_i_n_g! A shirt at the laundry. The needle and thread someone on the other side of the camp borrowed. It all was sucked in. B"Y is watching the worlds first heat-seeking vacuum cleaner and if it was owned by Korach & co., it was hot!!! What an incredible manifestation of H' to behold. What inspiration!

Before it was, Moshe? Korach? Moshe? Korach? Now its MOSHE! MOSHE! MOSHE! MOSHE!. And since G-d is exacting in all His judgements, punishment and reward, doesn't Korach deserve a little something for bringing all B"Y to such a level of faith in Moshe? In fact, he got a big something. 289 prophets! And this is what the B'eir Yoseph explains Raish Lakish had in mind for Korach's bum deal. Korach's sons did tshuva and they lived on.They enabled the fruit of Korachs merits to come into the world. All Korach got was the pit!!!

Sorry had to do it! Even puns can be used l'shaim Shamayim.

Speaking of pits... There is a verse in Job (33:29) which says "H' does all these things 2 or 3 times to take man out of the pit." It is speaking of opportunities H' creates to do tshuva not just once but 2 times or 3 times even.

In the beginning of our parsha, v.16:4 "Moshe heard this (the complaint of Korach) and fell on his face (in prayer)" Rashi says, "This is the FOURTH time Moshe is praying for them."

Moshe Rabbeinu makes one last effort and personally sends for Dasan and Aviram to try and make peace. They insultingly refuse. Even if they were blinded they wouldn't come to him. Moshe doesn't understand. Their whole claim against him is unfounded.Moshe responds, "Not even a donkey have I taken from them." Rashi says that when Moshe returned to Egypt to lead the Jews, he needed a donkey. That's a legitimate business expense. Anyone else would have gone to Egypt and said, "I'm gonna take you out of bondage. I'm going to bring you to the Promised land. I'm gonna build you a Temple with vessels of silver and gold! And then I'm gonna get the 50 bucks back it cost me for this donkey!" Moshe Rabbeinu never took funds from the mishcan to compensate his expenditure.

Rabbi Reich points out, Moshe was just insulted by Dasan and Aviram. When was the first time Moshe met these 2 brothers? 41 years earlier, after Moshe killed the Egyptian for beating the Jew, the next day he saw two brothers fighting and tried to make peace between them. They said, "Are you gonna kill us like you killed that Egyptian?" Moshe knew the word was out and his life was in danger. But the Torah says Moshe looked around before killing the Egyptian and saw no one? No, he saw no one ELSE! Who did he see? The Egyptian and the beaten Jew! One of the two brothers! And they finked on Moshe. Chazal say those brothers were Dasan and Aviram! So Dasan and Aviram personally caused Moshe to have to pack up and run and to do so he needed a donkey! So Moshe can't understand their accusation of his self-aggrandizement because even what he was owed by those very two he did not ask for or forcefully collect.

Of course, no dvar Torah is the same without some Chassidishe interjection. Better than a dvar Torah is a dvar Torah with a practical application. Rav Wolfson points out, not specifically on this parsha but on the time that this parsha falls. The sin of the spies was regarding their 40 day trip in Israel. They came back and told lashon horah and B"Y cried that night. G-d said that instead of crying for nothing, He will give us something to cry about, r'l. That night was the 9th of Av. 40 days prior would be the end of Sivan. We are just beginning that 40 day period. It can be a great tikun, reparation for the sins of our ancestors if we made a special effort during this period to be careful not to speak lashon horah. (Not that I'm saying you are!)

It doesn't matter if it's true, or funny, or something you would say in their presence anyway (top 3 `reasons' for speaking lashon horah) DON'T SAY IT. If you hear some coming your way, change the subject, cough, sneeze, stick a finger in your ear. Better yet, stick a finger in the speakers mouth. It was the sin of the spies, speaking lashon horah. The sin of the masses was hearing it and believing it. Even if you accidently hear something, DON'T believe it. It is not a coincidence that the Torah requires TWO witnesses to give testimony. There are no grounds to believe anything ONE person tells you. Only in one area does the Torah allow testimony by an individual. Guess what...this aint it!

The Chafetz Chaim says you are better off going your entire life without speaking a single word than to speak lashon Horah even once. Oy!

I think it was a tape by a Rav Kessel that I heard explained that back in Gan Eden, Hashem gave the 'snake' (a.k.a. suton,prosecutor, evil inclination, angel of death) the power of speech. With it he went to Chava and spoke lashon horah on Hashem! The snake told her Hashem does not want her to eat from the tree because then she would be like Him. As part of the snake/sotun's punishment for his first words being lashon horah,measure for measure, G-d told him he now will not be able to speak in his prosecution until the defendant first speaks lashon horah.

This means that if the suton wants to bring a soul to trial for a sin or sins, be it life and death or just for afflictions, H' will not let the suton speak unless that Jew speaks lashon horah. When you speak lashon horah, not only will you be judged for your sin of lashon horah but also for any other sin that has been waiting on file.

Let me make this perfectly clear. Every time you speak or hear lashon horah, you should hear a little voice in the back of your head say, "All rise. The Court is now in session. Will the prosecution call its first witness."

What was that Chafetz Chaim again? You are better off going your entire life without speaking a single word than to once speak lashon Horah. Rav Wolfson does add that this weeks parshas warns against resembling the likes of Korach. Its one of the Lo-Ta'asehs. The language of the Gemorah is not to hold onto an arguement. Not just don't argue but don't hold onto them!

The proof it brings is from Moshe going to Dasan and Aviram himself a second time to try and make peace. Even after the afore mentioned episode when Moshe sent for Dasan and Aviram and they spit in his face, again Moshe personally approaches them and THAT is the proof not to hold onto arguments?! This means that if Moshe did not approach them this second time, EVEN WITH THE FIRST ATTEMPT he would have been guilty of the prohibition not to be like Korach and his cohorts! Moshe Rabbeinu!?! Do you think there was an inkling of a doubt in his mind that he was right? And still TWICE he tried to make peace. When I argue, I know I'm right too. Hmmm?

With email we can't say things like, "pretty soon they'll have to cut down another tree so Ill stop here." Some how, "Pretty soon they'll need another nanosecond to transmit this" doesn't quite say it the same.

Try calling a someone you've been argueing with for the sake of peace. Try 15 minutes of daily, lashon horah free quality time. Two muscles that need exercising. Take on more time. Build up the muscle. I guarantee, you'll be in great shape!

Speaking of great shape, pass the cholent and have a peaceful, lashon horah free Shabbat Shalom!

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