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    He pretended to be a dissident – Korach

    The death of Korach & his followers, by Gustave Dore

    Korach (Num. 16) was very shrewd.

    He told everyone he was a democrat when really he was a demagogue determined to gain power by what looked like fair means.

    He made out that he was a dissident, a member of a minority group that had better policies than Moses and Aaron. If only he could win the votes of more of the people, so he claimed, the Israelite camp would become a far better place, and the wandering and floundering would be over.

    Dressed up like that, he charmed and convinced the people.

    He didn’t let on that he had every intention of becoming a harsh dictator, or that God, whose decisions were what carried the final weight, thoroughly disapproved of him.

    What happened to him in the end?

    He was swallowed by the earth after some of his supporters deserted him (the sages say that the leading deserter was On ben Pelet whose wife told him not to be an idiot).

    Moses and Aaron were once again justified by events. The real victims of the episode were the people who were taken in by Korach.

    There are Korachs lurking in every age, and those whom they try to deceive need to be alive to the dangers and aware that a demagogue’s glib talk can spell disaster.

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