Today’s Aliyah

Dvar Torah for Korach 4th Aliyah

In this week’s parashah, Korach and his horde argue for more power, expose themselves as selfish and evil, and are subsequently punished. When the Jewish people complain about the recent deaths the next day, G-d asks Moshe and Aharon to step aside from the congregation as He kills them and sends a plague to complete His will (17:10). Not only did Moshe and Aharon immediately fall on their faces in prayer instead of moving away, but Moshe also sends Aharon to stand with incense amid the assembly in order to stop the plague. How were Moshe and Aharon able to disobey a direct order from G-d to move away? How did Aharon have the power to stop a plague with incense that just a day earlier caused the death of Korach and his two hundred and fifty followers?

Rabbi David Fohrman points out that when G-d tells Moshe and Aharon to stand aside, it wasn’t a command so much as a prerequisite: if Moshe and Aharon step aside, G-d will destroy the people and start over. If they don’t step away, then it can’t happen. In fact, it was so clear to them that it was their choice that once the plague had begun killing people, Moshe instinctively sent Aharon to stop it with the very incense that was used to validate Moshe’s righteousness a day before. Despite what seemed to be overwhelming odds, Moshe and Aharon conveyed their continued faith in the Jewish people through prayer and action. We, too, can use prayer and action to manifest what we value and cherish in the world.