Posts tagged " Korach "

When Our Kids “Hate” Us

July 14th, 2019 Posted by Practical Parenting, Your Mother's Guidance 3 comments

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter

I think all mothers should read the story of Korach’s rebellion (Number 16).  Can anyone at all relate on some small level to Moses?  Moses, who never even used a donkey that belonged to anyone else (verse 15) but, on the contrary, devoted his life to doing for the Jewish people, teaching them , praying for them, and leading them as they developed from slaves into a free and spiritual nation is attacked.  Korach, his group and 250 others rebelled against Moses’s leadership. 

Nachmanides, a transmitter of ancient Jewish wisdom, explains why Korach picked this particular time to rebel. The issue he was upset about, the appointment of Elitzafan, happened much earlier.  Nachmanides’ words are poignant to me; he says Korach didn’t rebel when Eltizafan’s appointment was made because life was good for the Jewish people then.  After the terrible sin of the Golden Calf, Moses saved the nation with his 40 days and nights of prayer, and, “They loved Moses like themselves and listened to him.” If any man had rebelled against Moses at that time the nation would have stoned him.  So Korach bided his time and waited until things weren’t going as well and the nation just heard the decree that they wouldn’t enter Israel but would finish their lives in the desert.

Now Korach knew the time was ripe to rebel as the people’s mood was beginning to turn against Moses’ leadership. Nothing had changed in Moses’ attitude or behavior to the Jewish people but when they began to feel disgruntled, upset, and disillusioned, who are they ready to turn against?  Their leader, Moses.

I’m not sure why I find this particular Nachmanides so moving.  Maybe it’s because on some small level I can relate.  Within a family, there are times that everything is going well and smoothly, and everyone is happy.  And at those times, just like Nachmanides says, the children love their parents as themselves and listen to them.  Lovely!  But when troubles arise, even difficulties that children bring upon themselves, do you know who they take it out on? Isn’t it often Mommy?  The truth is that when a child is distressed, the safest person to attack is the person he or she know loves them despite all. So  they snap out at you and me.  And it doesn’t feel good.  No one likes to feel like the bad guy, especially when we’re exhausted from caring so much, loving so much, and doing so much good for the very people who are striking at us.  But this is the way the world works.  It happened to Moses and it happens to you and me.

What can we do in times like this?  I’d like to make two suggestions. The first sounds simple but takes a lot of work. 

Don’t take it personally. 

I know it feels very personal when your child makes a snide comment, rolls his eyes, or rebels in any which way, but we have to work on ourselves not to take it personally.  This is something I’ve worked on for a very long time and still have to work on again and again.  I can’t say it enough: sometimes our children hurt and they lash out against the person who loves them the most, similar to the children of Israel and Moses. We can’t let it be about us.

The second suggestion I am taking is from Moses’ reaction to Korach’s initial complaint.  The verse says, “and Moses heard and he fell on his face.”  One transmitter of ancient Jewish wisdom adds this word, l’tfilah—for prayer.  At those times of attack and complaints, let’s try to take a moment to whisper a small prayer, maybe one asking for help remaining calm, maybe a prayer to help us not take it personally, maybe a prayer for God to help this child who is in so much pain and doesn’t want our help right at this moment.  We can take a parenting challenge and turn it over to God who has the ultimate power and ultimate love to help both us and our children grow through the hard times together.

Going for the Jugular

July 2nd, 2019 Posted by Thought Tools 21 comments

Have you ever seen a five-year-old stamp her foot and declare, “No! I will not”?

Whether it is parents in a family, political heads of a country, executive officers in a business enterprise or captains of ships like the Bounty, challenges to leadership come with the territory.  Part of effective parenting is to help your children understand that you hear their challenges and may even sympathize with aspects of their mini-rebellions and then to restore calmness and order.  Similarly, even statesmen like Winston Churchill engaged in saving their countries have to divert energy to deflect political assaults meant to unseat them.  Likewise, business professionals who have risen to success are accustomed to boardroom battles during which they are baselessly charged with every imaginable offense.  As Captain Bligh discovered, sometimes one has no alternative but to split the enterprise and lead the loyalists to survival.  Experienced leaders expect these kinds of challenges and respond to them calmly and decisively.

It is thus no surprise at all that the Israelites rebelled against Moses.  They did so frequently.  Consider this particular occasion:

And Korach…took upon himself to rise up against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty Israelites…They ganged up against Moses and Aaron
and said to them, “You have gone too far…” 
(Numbers 16:1-3)

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When They Gang Up On You

March 26th, 2019 Posted by Thought Tools 11 comments

There are at least three separate groups that hate President Trump, each for its own reason. Some people hate him because he’s an outsider to Capitol Hill and doesn’t play the “you-rub-my-back-and-I’ll-rub-yours” game. Another group hates him for enacting more conservative policies and appointing more conservative justices than any other president in recent memory. Yet another because they perceive him to be profoundly evil in every fearful nightmarish way.

There are at least three separate groups of Britishers eager to escape the bureaucratic clutches of Brussels and the iron-grip of the European Economic Community. Each has its own reason for wanting a more independent Britain.

There are many different groups enthusiastically pushing a gender spectrum sexually fluid society, whatever that all actually means. Each group benefits in a different way from the resulting identity confusion.

Your customers, your sales professionals, and your accountants might all encourage you to lower the price of your product. They all have their own different reasons, but by acting together, they cause you a huge headache.

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Open Up

December 15th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

 “I had to let three of my people go last week” she told me, “and you have no idea how miserable I have been.  I wish I could get toughened up so I could do whatever is necessary without feeling such pain!”

 “No, you don’t,” I replied.  “In these frightening financial conditions, you may have to do what it takes to save the company, but you should never stop feeling the pain. Let me tell you about Moses.”

 Confronting a challenge to his leadership, Moses declares that if the rebels die natural deaths it will prove that he is not God’s agent.  However, if the (1) …earth opens its mouth and swallows them…it will prove that he is. (Numbers 16:30)

 When he had finished speaking… (2)  the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them …(Numbers 16:32)

 Later, the events are recounted:

 (3) The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them…(Numbers 26:10)

 Finally, towards the end of his life, Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s wonders which they’d witnessed:

 (4) …the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them…(Deuteronomy 11:6)

 I have numbered four of the instances where the phrase “the earth opened its mouth” appears in the Torah.

 There’s only one little problem.  In Hebrew, occurrences (1) and (4) use variations of the verb PTZA for open, while occurrences (2) and (3) use variations of the verb PTCH for open.

 This is an example of how much vital information is concealed by inadequate translations.  Two separate Hebrew words for ‘open’ exist because each conveys a different subtle nuance.  The Lord’s language reveals more than any translation possibly can.

 The root word PTCH is used whenever something opens in a positive context:

 God saw that Leah was unloved so He opened (PTCH) her womb        (Genesis 29:31)

 

God remembered Rachel, and God heard her                                                             and He opened (PTCH) her womb.                                                                    (Genesis 30:22)

 

The root word PTZA, on the other hand, is used when something opens in a negative context:

 For example, after Cain murdered Abel we find:

 

And now you are cursed from the earth which opened (PTZA) its mouth         to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.                                           (Genesis 4:11)

 

And Job opens (PTZA) his mouth with nonsense…                                              (Job 35:16)

 

All your enemies opened (PTZA) their mouths at you…                 (Lamentations 2:16)

 

 With this in mind, let’s review the four stages of our original story:

 Case (1)   Moses proclaimed that he would be vindicated if God made the earth open PTZA and swallow the rebels (negative context).

 Case (2) God made the earth open PTCH (positive context).

 Case (3) Scripture records that indeed God made the earth open PTCH (positive context).

 Case (4) Moses recalls the incident as God making the earth open PTZ (negative context).

 Thus we now know that Moses called saw the earth opening in a negative context.  From God’s perspective it opened in a positive context and Scripture later confirms this. Towards the end of his life, Moses recounts the event and recalls the earth as having opened in a negative context. What is going on? 

 Here is the clue:

 Now the man Moses was exceedingly humble,                                                    more than any person on the face of the earth.                                           (Numbers 12:3)

 For Moses, it was nothing short of a calamity to have people die in order to validate his leadership.  He saw the earth swallowing his nemeses as necessary but a disaster, and continued to see it this way for the rest of his life.  From God’s perspective, through a lens of ultimate truth and objectivity, when the necessary happens it is positive.

 We can see Moses’ greatness and aspire to be like him in feeling empathy with others, no matter the source of their suffering.

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