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Parshat Korach

As a mother of four, Shabbat Mom can imagine what G-d thinks about the complaining Israelites at this point in their journey through the desert: Stop kvetching!

This time it's pretty serious: Korach, a Levite, and his followers--250 chieftains--foment revolution against Moses and his brother Aaron. "'You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst," Korach thunders. "So why do you raise yourselves above the Lord's assembly?'... When Moses heard this he fell on his face. Then he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, 'Do this:..You, Korach and all your band, take fire pans, 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!'"

G-d, livid, declares He will "'annihilate (this community) in an instant!'". But Moses, ever patient and penitent on behalf of the weak-willed people, once again begs G-d to to spare the innocent.

"....'If one man sins, shall you be angry with the whole congregation?'" G-d tells Moses to warn the Israelites to "get away from the tents of the wicked men...'" Wise advice, since the Lord suddenly "...opened (the earth) and swallowed them and their houses, and all the men who were with Korach...They and all they possessed descended alive into the grave." As for the flaming fire pans the sinners had brought (see the Zabars version here), they were "hammered out as an overlay for the altar" to serve as a reminder of the failed insurrection against

G-d's chosen leaders. In response, the terrified people, who never seem to read G-d's memo, start up with the whining again. In response, G-d sends a horrible plague into the camp, killing more than 14 thousand until Aaron, frantically atoning for the people's sins, is able to end the suffering. A cautionary tale, to say the least. Shabbat Shalom!

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