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Parashat Korach: Good Intentions for a Better Future

Who is Korach?


Korach is that member of the people of Israel who, with all his material wealth, believes he can dazzle the people. He thinks it's enough to make the people follow him. So, he rebels against Moses and Aaron, against the power backed by none other than the Holy One, blessed be He.


But does Korach not understand where Moses and Aaron's power comes from? Of course, he does. That's why he plays dirty, trying to keep the people dazzled to follow him and to position himself as a leader, alleging nepotism on the part of Moses and Aaron, knowing full well that the only one who had chosen the leaders was the Lord.


Moses almost tests the God of Israel and challenges: "If indeed I have the backing of the Holy One, blessed be He, then let the ground open up and swallow Korach and his entire family." And so it happened.


In our daily lives, we don't have that benefit. We don't get an instant response from God to guide or empower us. We have, perhaps, subtle signs that we don't always manage to see, showing us time and again that we have divine support by our side.


Korach's motives for anger were selfish and disrespectful. They did not seek the common good but rather to stand out above the rest of the people.


Each of us is the architect of our own future and present. Every controversy holds the power to both build and generate growth, as well as to demolish, devastate, and destroy. This generally depends on our motives in the dispute. The responsibility to discern whether it is for the sake of heaven (l'shem shamaim), for the good, with good intentions, or if it is to perpetuate selfish interests or lead to a bad place (not l'shem shamaim) lies with us, each in our own time and space.


All of this is more relevant now than ever in the times we live in a time saturated with conflicts and controversial leaderships. The situation of insecurity and widespread violence in various parts of the world and in our country only serves to highlight and exacerbate the differences in our perceptions of law and truth. Especially when the law is trampled, manipulated, and twisted for personal gain.


We have the responsibility and duty to look at every situation with a critical and scrutinizing eye, and to know how to steer our thoughts and positions in a way that creates the conditions for Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and not lead us to mere destructive discord. For this, we must be doubly noble and avoid the temptations of being like Korach, wanting to put ourselves ahead of the rest out of ambition or selfishness.


For our part, here on earth, with our feet on the ground, we must safeguard the integrity of each of our communities, ensure their continuity, and bridge the gaps between us to achieve a unity that strengthens us. It is not individually that we will grow, prosper, and defend ourselves as a people.


In the desert, it was Moses, Aaron, and the Holy One, blessed be He; a good team. Here on earth, we must be the ones to form our own diverse teams so that Judaism, continuity, education, and our own Jewish identity are sustained despite all the situations that put us in check.


May we achieve this to create a better world, a better community: active, thriving, and full of better people.


Shabbat Shalom.


Rabbi Gustavo Geier

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