Parashat Korah

Selfish Revolution

Korah and his followers masked their quest for personal power and gain as a desire for an egalitarian, democratic society.

Print this page Print this page

Tellingly, the Hebrew word for donkey is hamor, similar to the Hebrew word for the physical, the material--homer. If we also remember the reluctance that Moshe showed to accept a leadership role, back at the burning bush, while the Jews were still enslaved in Egypt, the differences between what motivates Moshe to lead as opposed to Korah could not be clearer.

I would argue that Moshe's unmasking of the true motivations of Korah and his followers leaves open the possibility of a real "people's revolution," which seeks a truly egalitarian society. We are however left with the suspicion that those who claim that that is what they are after need to be looked at very carefully, as those high ideals and exalted aims have often (invariably?) masked a raw desire for personal power and gain. Moshe's model of leadership stands in stark distinction to that of Korah and his followers, stemming as it does from a desire to help those who need it, rather than from personal considerations of profit, loss, and position.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Rabbi Shimon Felix

Rabbi Shimon Felix is the Israel Director of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. He lives with his family in Jerusalem, and has taught in a wide variety of educational frameworks in Israel and abroad.