In this parasha, we meet Korach, a member of the tribe of Levi and two members of the tribe of Reuben – Dathan and Abiram.  Together they lead a revolt against Moses. They accuse Moses and Aaron of abusing their power. They declare that all of Israel is holy.  Moses criticizes Korach for wanted to get privileges that he doesn’t deserve. He tells Korach that God will decide who is holy.

The next morning, the rebels, with Moses and Aaron offer up incense to God.  God’s presence appears and threatens to to destroy the entire community. Moses convinces God not to do this, and tells the people that the rebels will die, proving that Moses is God’s chosen leader.  The ground opens up, swallowing up Korach and his family. The rest of the 250 rebels are destroyed by fire.

The people then rise up, accusing Moses and Aaron of being responsible for the deaths of the rebels.  God sends a plague among the people. Many are killed but Aaron offers up an offering of atonement and saves the rest the Israelites.

God tells Moses to collect the staffs of the tribal leaders and leave them in the Tent of Meeting. The next morning the people find that Aaron’s staff had sprouted almond blossoms, proving that he was chosen by God.  Aaron is told by God that he and his sons are responsible for the Tabernacle and that the Levites are to serve under them.

God also says that for now on, all the sacrifices, offerings and gifts that the people bring to God belong to Aaron and his descendants, the priests.  The Levites would would receive a portion of the donations, for the work that they do in the Tabernacle, but will receive no land.

Torah Portion in English

1) Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself, along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben— 2) to rise up against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty Israelites, chieftains of the community, chosen in the assembly, men of repute. 3) 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 the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s congregation?” 4) When Moses heard this, he fell on his face. 5) Then he spoke to Korah and all his 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. 6) Do this: You, Korah and all your band, take fire pans, 7) and tomorrow put fire in them and lay incense on them before the Lord. Then the man whom the Lord chooses, he shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!” 8) Moses said further to Korah, “Hear me, sons of Levi. 9) Is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has set you apart from the community of Israel and given you access to Him, to perform the duties of the Lord’s Tabernacle and to minister to the community and serve them? 10) Now that He has advanced you and all your fellow Levites with you, do you seek the priesthood too? 11) Truly, it is against the Lord that you and all your company have banded together. For who is Aaron that you should rail against him?” 12) Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab; but they said, “We will not come! 13) 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?

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. Why did Korach and his followers rebel?
  2. What tribe was Korach a member of ?
  3. Who were Korach’s followers?
  4. How did Moses decide to figure out who was right?
  5. What did God want to do at first to punish the people?
  6. In the end how were the rebels punished?
  7. How did God prove that Aaron was to be the chosen leader?
  8. What did the priests, the descendants of Aaron, recieve as a reward in The Land?
  9. What did the Levites receive?