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    The Korach conflict

    The destruction of Korach & his followers, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

    Everybody knows that Korach is a bad man. Backed by some of the leaders of the people he stood up and challenged Moses.

    Though the Midrash suggests causes of the conflict, the Torah gives us very little information to go on.

    The sages find grounds for the controversy in differing attitudes to halachah. With these circumstances we see that Korach and company were out to embarrass Moses.

    They assure him of their loyalty to the commandments of tzitzit and mezuzah. “Yes, four-cornered garments need fringes including a thread of blue,” they say, “but what if the whole garment is blue?… Yes, a house needs mezuzot containing the name of God, but what if the whole building is full of books which contain the Divine name?”

    Harmless questions – or are they? The Korach campaign reminds us of a current problem whereby one group denigrates another and says, “Yes, you say you stand for kashrut – but is your kashrut really kosher?”

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