Posts tagged " Korach "

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.

Each of your young children has his or her own reasons for not wanting to end the day according to your preferred bedtime schedule. Regardless of their own individual agendas, from an early age they know the value of forming a coalition against you.

Politicians, union organizers and little children succeed by knowing how to bond together several disparate interest groups into one single coordinated force. Likewise, they are best defeated when you possess a deep understanding of the dynamics of unity and you know what each party really desires and what it fears.

Nobody knew better than Moses what to do when they gang up on you. Numbers 16 details a rebellion against his leadership. Join me in a stroll through that revealing part of Scripture.

The first two verses in chapter 16 identify all the participants in what seems to be one rebellion. Korach, Datan and Aviram, On the son of Pelet, and another 250 men. It sounds as if they are all unified in opposing Moses and Aaron. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is more here than meets the eye. In verse 12, Moses summons Datan and Aviram who refuse to respond. Their complaint against Moses: Why did you use the promise of taking us to a land of milk and honey to aggrandize yourself and appoint yourself our leader?

Another group comprises 250 men protesting Aaron’s exclusivity as priest. Not only are these two separate groups with two separate agendas but the verses show that they each are headquartered in different locations. Verses 1 through 4 introduce both rebellious groups. The next seven verses describe the complaint of group one who reject Aaron’s role as exclusive priest. The second group, that of Datan and Aviram with their complaint against Moses, is treated in verses 12 through 15.

Notice that when group two is being dealt with in verses 25 and 26, only Moses alone acts since their protests were against his leadership whereas the response to group one appropriately included Aaron as we see in verse 18.

We’re now in a position to understand the biggest mystery of chapter sixteen. Because of its apparent incomprehensibility, many translations mistranslate verse 1. Here’s how it really reads:

And Korach the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi took
and Datan and Aviram
the sons of Eliav and
On the son of Pelet the sons of Reuven.

That isn’t a typo— there is no object in the sentence telling us what Korach took. The simplest understanding is that Korach “took” men with his eloquent words, a human susceptibility that we can certainly take to heart. However, ancient Jewish wisdom also transmits another powerful message.

It explains that what Korach took was his own self interest along with the two separate disgruntled groups and he contrived to combine everyone into one formidable rebellion. Note how chapter sixteen makes us work to discover that there are two separate groups that Korach welds into one loud voice of protest against Moses and Aaron. This helps us understand that it is usually challenging to discover exactly who is ganging up on us and for what reasons. By carefully analyzing who the protagonists are and what exactly each wants, we place ourselves in our best position of strength. Moses successfully worked a wedge between the two groups, even keeping each in its own separate geographic location.

We must learn that lesson well and meticulously strategize to form cracks between those who would gang up on us. We should also be aware, as we diligently are at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians that those whose agendas disagree with our joint primary focus on following God’s word, benefit when they can drive wedges between us.

Words matter. Our highlighted (and on sale) audio CD, Perils of Profanity: You Are What You Speak highlights the damage to individuals and to society when cursing becomes standard as it is today. If this is a problem area for you, you may not even be aware of the damage to your purse and love life. However, because of the culture around us, this is actually a problem which affects all of us.

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Perils of Profanity: You Are What You Speak

Rabbi Lapin Download S





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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