This week’s Parsha is Parshas Korach. The Parsha contains the tragic episode of Korach. Korach was one of the most respected Jews of his time. He was fabulously wealthy, and a very wise person. Nevertheless he started a rebellion against Moses that forever is remembered in the Torah, destroyed him and his followers, and left him in disgrace. Korach came in public to challenge the very authority of Moses. He refused all of the overtures that Moses made to him to make peace. In the end he and his followers were swallowed up alive by the ground in a miraculous event recorded in the Torah for eternity. One of the questions raised is, why did Korach allow himself to be foolish enough to rebel against Moses?
The story is told of a lion who was once hungry and was about to eat a fox. The fox told the lion, “Why eat me when I am so skinny? Look at the human being who is so much more satisfying to devour?” In front of this particular person was a pit that was covered. The lion replied, “I am scared of the prayers of this person that they may over power me”. The fox replied, “Nothing will happen to you or to your children. Perhaps your grandchildren will be affected by the prayers, but in the meantime you will be satisfied from your hunger.” The lion listened, ran towards the person, and fell into the pit. The fox came to the edge of the pit and looked down at the lion. The lion asked “Didn’t you say that only my grandson will be punished?” The fox answered “Yes, but your grandfather attacked a human being, so now you are suffering.” The lion asked, “My grandfather sinned and for that I have to suffer?” The fox responded, “Why didn’t you ask that question until now?”
This beautiful parable is very powerful. The lesson is very clear. When a person is overcome with lust, with desire for physical pleasure, nothing is thought out clearly. Korach and his followers made a claim. “Is it not enough that you took us out of a land flowing with milk and honey…” What were they talking about? Can a land of bitter enslavement be called a land flowing with milk and honey?
When Korach and his followers were overcome by their desire for honor and glory, they were totally blinded. Smart as he may have been, Korach was unable to think or to see things clearly. He was the lion, charging for a meal, not thinking of anything else.
This is the power of physical desires. If we want to be able to live a sane, rational life, we have to find a way to control our desires, and to think rationally. Only then can we be assured of doing what is right, not falling prey to the blinding power of physical temptation and desire.