Thursday, 18 June 2015

Korach: Memento

by Twerski, Rabbi Dr. Avraham (See all authors)

Korah challenged the right of Aaron to the kehuna (priesthood). Arguing that everyone has a right to kehuna, he performed the incense service, which may be done only by a kohane. He and his followers died, thus proving the authority of Moses that Aaron was the kohane, and that non-kohanim are not permitted to perform the services assigned to the kohane.

Hashem then orders that the incense utensils should be flattened and made into a covering to the altar, to serve as a reminder and warning to non-kohanim that they are not permitted to do the priestly service lest they suffer the grave consequences that befell Korah. In other words, the Jews should learn from the history of the past to avoid repeating behavior that has ruinous consequences.

One of the classic features of addiction is the addict’s refusal to learn from the past. For years, every time he used alcohol or a drug, he suffered serious consequences. Yet, the addiction drives him to think, “this time will be different.” It is said that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. How true!