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    You need to do something about it – Korach

    The death of Korah, by Gustave Dore

    Rabbinic commentary fills in many details of Korach’s revolt.

    It says that in order to discredit Moses, he ridiculed the laws of the Torah. He came to Moses, held up an entirely blue garment and asked, “This blue garment – does it still need a blue thread in the tzitzit?”

    Moses said yes, and Korach laughed.

    Korach then asked, “If a house is full of holy books does it still need a mezuzah on the doorpost?”

    Again Moses said yes; again Korach laughed.

    Superficially Korach’s questions are valid. Yes, the Shema says the corners of a garment must have a thread of blue and a house must have a mezuzah, but surely the same purpose is served by having in the one case a completely blue garment and in the other a whole house of Torah scrolls!

    So why should Moses refuse to accept Korach’s reasoning?

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe offers an answer. To have a blue garment (in the days when the exact shade of blue required by the Shema was still available) is no guarantee of righteousness, nor even is the possession of a house of books.

    In each case we need the reminder of God, not as a background to our lives but as an active duty symbolised by the two mitzvot which Korach questioned.

    You may be a Jew because of your background but you need that extra personal act of commitment to ensure you are bringing Judaism fully into your life, and bringing your life fully into Judaism.

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