Give Peace a Chance: Korah 2020

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Which people in your life have a way of smoothing out difficult situations? What qualities do they possess that enable them to be peace-makers?

When Korah and others directly challenge Moses’ leadership position, Moses’ response speaks volumes:

The Pitch: “Then [Moses] spoke to Korah and all this company, saying, ‘Come morning, the Lord will make known who is His and who is holy, and will grant him access to Himself; He will grant access to the one He has chosen.’” – Numbers 16:5

Swing #1: “We do not judge each other; that is God’s task, and we are not God.” – Rabbi Elyse D. Frishman, from The Women’s Torah Commentary, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, ed.

Swing #2: “One who is concerned merely with ‘winning the argument’ will go to any extreme to come out on top. This attitude caused the downfall of the 250 leaders who joined Korach, rather than acknowledge the truth of Moshe’s declaration” – Si’ach Yitzhak

Swing #3: “‘Now (this hour of the day)’ — [Moses] meant — ‘is a time of excessive drinking, and it is therefore not proper to appear before Him’. But his real intention in postponing the matter was that perhaps they might repent (abandon their opposition).” – Tanhuma

Late-Inning Questions: How does Moses’ behavior deliberately contrast with that of Korach and his followers? From this and other examples in the Torah, does Moses seem to have an inclination toward peace, or do other examples suggest otherwise? Must one always incline toward peace to be considered a peaceful person?

On-Deck at Emanu-El: I have been touched by recent tributes in my honor, most notably at last night’s Zoom Toast. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it. I plan to say a little more at our 5:00PM Kabbalat Shabbat virtual gathering tonight, which I will lead from our synagogue sanctuary.

The Big Inning at the End: There are still many unanswered questions regarding health and safety, but if we’re going to have a 60-game baseball season, may it bring us joy. PLAY BALL!

Shabbat Shalom, and WEAR A MASK!