Below is a collection of Parashat Korah resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at email@example.com if you didn’t find what you’re looking for.
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: Have you ever had an argument where someone else is accusing you of something which is not true? What can be done to resolve it? Parashat Korah describes the rebellion of Korah, Datan, and Abiram against the leadership of Moses. When Moshe asks Datan and Abiram to come to him for a discussion, they answer in a very aggressive manner, even using the words describing the land of Israel, “the land flowing with milk and honey,” to describe Egypt, the land of their slavery! They accuse Moses of bringing them to the desert to die.
Look inside the text (Bemidbar 16:13-14):
הַמְעַט כִּי הֶעֱלִיתָנוּ מֵאֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ לַהֲמִיתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּי תִשְׂתָּרֵר עָלֵינוּ גַּם הִשְׂתָּרֵר
? אַף לֹא אֶל אֶרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ הֲבִיאֹתָנוּ וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ נַחֲלַת שָׂדֶה וָכָרֶם הַעֵינֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים הָהֵם תְּנַקֵּר לֹא נַעֲלֶה
Is it not enough that you brought us from a land flowing with milk and honey to have us die in the wilderness, that you would also lord it over us? Even if you had brought us to a land flowing with milk and honey, and given us possession of fields and vineyards, should you gouge out the eyes of those involved? We will not come!
Question #2: In Parashat Korah, the leadership of Moses and Aaron is challenged by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. They claim that all the people are holy, and it’s not fair that only Moses and Aaron are the ones to lead. What do you think was unique about Moses and Aaron that they were chosen above others? What do you think are the qualities of a good leader of the Jewish people? Why are these important?
Look inside the text (Bemidbar 16:3):
‘וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל משֶׁה וְעַל אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם רַב לָכֶם כִּי כָל הָעֵדָה כֻּלָּם קְדשִׁים וּבְתוֹכָם ה’ וּמַדּוּעַ תִּתְנַשְּׂאוּ עַל קְהַל ה – They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and God is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above God’s congregation?”
Question #3: The Israelites are instructed to provide for the basic needs of the Levites since the Levites are landless. Is it good for public servants to be dependent on those whom they serve? Does that create a set of checks and balances on the public servants or does it make them too vulnerable to do their jobs properly? Is it best to have a leadership that is independently wealthy and doesn’t need the financial support of the public?
Question #4: Moses responds to the challenge of Dathan and Abiram with some cynical remarks, and Dathan and Abiram refuse to even show up to a meeting with him. What happens when verbal debates don’t focus on the substance of the issues but on the style of delivery or the sharpness of the put-down? Political muscle-flexing is the way things get done, but too much power control leads to abuse. How do we know when to use the means at hand to get done what we think is right and when we are crossing the line? Is using the power that we have appropriate in other kinds of relationships? At what point does it become an abusive relationship?