When one hears the name Korach they automatically associate it with machlokes. As we will I”YH read in this weeks parsha, Korach challenges Moshe Rabbeinu’s authority as the leader of klal Yisroel. He also disputed how Aharon was chosen to lead Bnei Yisroel as the Kohen Gadol. Moshe’s response was that they will hold a debate through offerings to Hashem and this will allow the public to clearly see who Hashem chose. Everyone gathers together and Korach and Moshe each offer Ketores to the Ribono Shel Olam. Moshe says to Korach that if his people are to die a regular death then you will know I am wrong. But, if you are to witness an abnormal and unnatural occurrence-such as the earth opening up and swallowing the people with their belongings- something that defies nature, then you will see that I am right and was chosen by Hashem.
The pasukim continue and say, we have to figuratively show everyone now that Aharon was really chosen to be the Kohen Gadol. Hashem tells Moshe that each Nasi should write their names on a staff and he should put all the staffs next to each other in the Ohel Moed. The one that I choose, says Hashem, will blossom and sprout. As the pasuk (17; 22-23) says ‘Moshe placed the staffs before the Lord in the Tent of the Testimony. And on the following day Moshe came to the Tent of Testimony, and behold, Aaron’s staff for the house of Levi had blossomed! It gave forth blossoms, sprouted buds, and produced ripe almonds.’
The seemingly obvious question is- why the need for both miracles? Didn’t they just see an eye popping miracle happen right before their eyes?
Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh comments that the first miracle was because there were those contesting Moshe; in order to show that Hashem was with Moshe the ground swallowed up those contesting that point. The need for the second miracle was that the people’s desire was so strong to dedicate their lives to serve the Ribono Shel Olam that each Nasi was saying we want the opportunity that Aharon has! It was then that Hashem showed them that He chose Aharon over everyone else. To prove this point, Moshe takes out Aharons staff and shows everyone that it was Aharon’s, that was chosen by Hashem.
Rashbam notes, that what happened was-when Moshe went in he saw that Aharons staff had sprouted a little. Then, when he actually showed it to klal Yisroel it continued to sprout into fruit and almonds. Moshe wanted that the transformation should happen in front of klal Yisroel so it should make a stronger impression on them.
The lesson to be learned is that this staff received its nourishment from the Ohel Moed, yet it continued to flourish and blossom even after it moved from its place. This shows us that our roots must start in the house of Hashem. Even after that, it can continue to blossom and produce; however, ones initial nutrition must start from Torah.
The gemarah in Chagiga (3a) relates a story. R’ Yochanan ben B’roka and R’ Elazar ben Chasma went to visit Reb Yehoshua. He asks them, what was the chiddush in Beis Medrash today? They replied-Rebbi, we’re your talmidim and we are thirsty to hear your Torah. Reb Yehoshua responded that there had to be some chiddush today because it’s impossible that there should be even one day without a chiddush in Beis Medrash. They told him that they were discussing the concept of Hakhel (where everyone is obligated to go to Eretz Yisroel). Men, woman and children are all obligated to go. Men go to learn, women go to hear, but children, what is their gain? Why bring them up for naught? They replied, there is no real to’eles but we bring them to give schar to those who bring them. Reb Yehoshua answered them and said ‘you had jewels in your hand that you wanted me to lose’?
The question is-why was this considered ‘jewels’ to Reb Yehoshua? What was so special about this chiddush in the gemarah that he got so excited about?
Meshech Chochma comments on this, and quotes a Yerushalmi-which says that when Reb Yehoshua was a baby his mother would bring him to the Beis Medrash in his carriage and leave him there so he could hear the words of Torah. Every word of Torah was so special to him because he felt that he became who he was, because of what his mother did for him as a newborn! The important yesod here is that when one starts planting, they need to start the initial nutrition next with Torah. Once we start with that, we will see that we can still continue to flourish and blossom when we’re outside the Beis Medrash, like Moshe Rabbeinu showed us. But in order to start off with the right nutrition we need to be with Torah so we can guarantee that in the beginning we are being nurtured properly. There may not have been anything so extraordinary in the pshat the he heard, but to Reb Yehoshua every word of Torah was precious. It’s up to each and every one of us to enable our children to have the proper nutrition right from the start.
May we all be zoche to realize and understand how to properly nurture our offspring from the onset.
HAVE A GREAT SHABBOS.
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