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    Wicked son or biblical rebel? – Korach

    The death of Korach, by Charles Foster, 1873

    The Torah has an ongoing issue with Korach.

    Like the rasha in the Haggadah, Korach symbolises rebelliousness. But unlike the wicked son, the pall of hostility to Korach derives from a real person and an actual event, not merely a (possibly temporary) philosophical challenge to conventional thinking.

    The wicked son of the Haggadah might be going through a disagreeable stage in his personal development, and by next Pesach he may have settled down.

    Korach, on the other hand, is an actual person who stands up against Moses and Aaron and is not likely to become more respectable next year – or ever.

    Unlike the wicked son, he is not merely aggrieved at the wise son’s Biblical exegesis. He is a politician who casts doubt on God’s choice of Moses and Aaron, an inciter who makes a bid to undermine the people’s leadership, a despot who thinks he should have the top job even though he lacks a positive track record.

    He is more than an intellectual debater who rejects ideas; he is a rebel who wants power and will end up with anarchy.

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