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    Korach took

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

    The week’s portion begins (Num. 16:1) with the words, Vayikkach Korach – “And Korach took”. What did Korach take?

    Some say he took himself too seriously; others that he took himself to the forefront; still others say he took his handful of supporters and opposed Moses and Aaron.

    The Targum says “he took” is to be understood as ve’it’p’leg, “he divided”, i.e. he caused division and dissension.

    Sefer No’am Elimelech is quoted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe as linking Korach’s attempt to split the people to the story of Creation, when there was division between the upper and the lower waters (Gen. 1).

    If we understand “waters” as indicating the Israelite community, Korach caused dissension between the upper and the lower strata of the nation. The upper class were the tribal elders and priests; the lower class were the common people.

    The spiritual unity of the people was broken by Korach and his henchmen.

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