Shabbat Commentary

5/6 July: Korach : Shabbat comes in 9:05 pm,  ends  10:23 pm

Korach’s rebellion was deemed by the rabbis to have been destructive in large part because he refused any real dialogue with Moshe. (Numbers 16:12)  An essential principle of controversy ‘for the sake of Heaven’ is the recognition that no single person has the monopoly on truth. Although one may be committed to a particular position, he or she must be open and respectful of dissenting views.

Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi, a 16th century commentator, notes that when Hillel and Shammai disagreed they still wanted the Halachic system to endure, hence, their controversy was ‘for the sake of Heaven’. Unlike Korach, whose purpose in disagreeing with Moshe was to destroy the system of the priesthood.

So, too, in Israeli politics. Rav Kook stated that the duly elected government of Israel has the status of malkhut, the biblical status of king.  Thus, an individual has the right to disagree with government policy, but can never regard those policies as null and void.

Written by Rabbi Paul Arberman




July 4, 2019