Thursday, June 6, 2013

Parshas Korach

Parshas Korach

Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person "goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.

1st Aliya: Korach, along with Dattan, Aviram, and 250 men from Shevet Reuven, challenged Moshe and Aharon's leadership. Moshe set the next day for a showdown, hoping that the rebels would reconsider their rebellion.

2nd Aliya: After attempting to convince Korach to reconsider, Moshe attempted to sway Dattan and Aviram. Moshe's efforts were rebuffed.

3rd Aliya: The next day Hashem instructed Moshe and the nation to separate themselves from the tents of Korach, Dattan, and Aviram. Moshe proclaimed that his and Aharon's leadership would be divinely confirmed through the way in which Korach and his followers would die. Korach, Dattan, and Aviram, along with their entire families were swallowed up by the earth, while the 250 men from Reuven were consumed by a heavenly fire.

4th Aliya: A rebellion broke out among the people, and Aharon had to intervene in order to stop the plague sent as a punishment against the people. 14,700 people perished in the plague.

5th Aliya: Aharon's appointment as Kohain Gadol is reconfirmed through the test of the staffs. Aharon's staff was the only staff that miraculously sprouted almonds.

6th Aliya: Aharon's staff is placed in the Holy of Holies. The duties of the Kohanim and Leviyim are stated along with a list of the Kohain's share in the nations produce and live stock.

7th Aliya: The Levite's share of the nation's produce and the gifts given by the Laviyim to the Kohanim are stated.


Haftorah Rosh Chodesh

This week's Haftorah is from Yishayah Chap. 66 and reflects the fact that today is also Rosh Chodesh. Yishayah describes the ultimate downfall of all our enemies during the war of Gog and Magog. The Navi explains that this world is the manifestation of g-d's presence and glory. Yet, we are incapable and sometimes unwilling to properly recognize G-d's manifest presence. Even when the Bais Hamikdash stood the Bnai Yisroel did not appreciate their opportunity to be close to G-d and serve Him. The Navi forewarns that insincere expressions of devotion are tantamount to offering blemished sacrifices and G-d will punish those who lack sincerity and devotion.

Nevertheless, the institution of the Bais Hamikdash and prayer are our only means for communication love and devotion. Therefore, those who truly mourn for the absence of the Bais Hamikdash and the Temple services will also merit to rejoice in her redemption and reconstruction. When the Bais Hamikdash will be rebuilt the nation will again be able to witness the Rosh Chodesh offering and service, and fully participate in expressing their commitment.

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