Korach: Divide & Conquer
Korach: Divide & Conquer: United they stood; divided they fell
The Torah lists several individuals and groups who joined Korach’s uprising. What brought them all together, and why did they fall apart? (Hint: See Mishna Avot 5:17.)
We will explore these questions along with the commentaries of Abarbanel and Malbim, reading the text of the Torah carefully through their eyes to find their insights into group dynamics and the conflicts of different agendas.
Korach: Divide & Conquer: Dividing to Stand
Last week, we explored the false unity and inherent instability of Korach’s rebellion.
In this week’s class, we will look beyond the loose group of rebels to consider the standing of the rest of the nation. Did they stand with Korach or against him? Who did Korach assemble in Numbers 16:19, and what sort of guilt did they bear for his rebellion? Why was it important to “separate yourselves from among this congregation” (ibid. 16:21)? We will compare approaches of several scholars, including Ramban, Abarbanel, Malbim, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, and Nechama Leibowitz.
Sarah Rudolph is a freelance Jewish educator, writer, and editor. She has been sharing her passion for Jewish texts of all kinds for over 15 years, with students of all ages. Sarah’s essays have been published in a variety of internet and print media, including Times of Israel, Kveller, Jewish Action, OU Life, The Lehrhaus, TorahMusings, and more. She is Editor-At-Large, Deracheha: womenandmitzvot.org. Sarah lives in Cleveland with her husband and four children, but is privileged to learn online with students all over the world.