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And Korach took (16:1)

                  Our Sages teach (Avos 5:17), “A dispute that is for the sake of Heaven will stand in the end. A dispute that is not for the sake of Heaven will not stand in the end. What is [an example of] a dispute for the sake of Heaven? A dispute between Beis Hillel and Beis Shamai.  What is a dispute not for the sake of Heaven? The dispute of Korach and his company.”

                  The Ksav Sofer notes that our Sages should have referred to this dispute as being “between Korach and Moshe.”

By characterizing the dispute as that of Korach and his company, our Sages are showing us an important and basic difference between disputes that are for the sake of Heaven and those that are not. When the difference of opinion is for the sake of Heaven, each side is unified in its position, and will maintain it and not swerve from it, because each side argues for the sake of Heaven.  Each believes that the truth is with him. Each person on his “side of the fence” is supportive of his fellow, and each side “pulls” together in the same direction. Therefore, their positions remain firm, so the dispute “stands in the end.”

            In contrast, when a dispute is not for the sake of Heaven, each person involved has personal motivations for adopting his position. Selfish interests mix in, creating a scenario whereby those on the same side are not united! Everyone is at odds, and there is no peace on either side “of the fence.” Such a dispute “will not stand in the end.”  After a while, those involved will see that it is impossible that everyone even in the same camp can get his way. Therefore, people lose enthusiasm for their stance. They eventually stop arguing and the dispute dies out on its own.

                  In short, this dispute pitted Korach against his company just as much as it pitted Korach against Moshe! To show us that Korach’s side was made of many individuals all pulling in different directions because of motivations “not for the sake of Heaven,” the Sages called this dispute that of Korach and his company! This type of argument will never stand in the end!


Shabbat Shalom  

Rabbi Jonathan Horowitz








Mon, July 4 2022 5 Tammuz 5782