Parshat Korach by: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס"ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
Ice, Baldness, and the Magma Chamber
At about the age of seven, I delivered a Dvar Torah about Korach being the same letters as “kerach,” ice, and that therefore his punishment, i.e being “swallowed” into the depths of the earth is exact, since within the earth is the magma chamber and its heat would “melt” the “ïce” associated with Korach. Years later I found that indeed the Talmud”(B”B 74a) attaches “burning heat” with the depths of the earth within which Korach and his followers were swallowed. In these depths, the Talmud adds, (the souls of?) Korach and his followers “rectify” their ways by declaring: “Moshe is true and his Torah is true, and we are liars.”
Another interpretation of Korach’s name, according to our Sages, is “baldness” as in a bald person “kereach.” One explanation of this is that Korach began his rebellion in the context of the commandment upon the Levites, of which Korach was a member, to shave all their hair, rendering them “bald.” The purpose of this shaving, according to the Zohar, was to “sweeten”/reduce the attribute of judgment inherent among the Levites (Kohen=kindness, Levite=judgment, Israelite=compassion (the middle path)), by the removal of their hair, a part of the body associated with the attribute of judgment. Based on this, we may say that Korach, when asking to be a Kohen, wished to be totally on the side of kindness, hinted to by the “baldness” of Korach=Kereach. Indeed, the followers of Korach were from the tribe of Reuven who is associated with the attribute of kindness, according to the Kabbalists, and also Reuven was named by his mother to express her wish for the love of her husband, and love is associated with kindness as the verse says, “än eternal love I love you, therefore I bring upon you kindness.”(Yirmiya 31, 2) This also explains Korach’s claim: äll the People are holy and Hashem is among them,” saying that from the viewpoint of the attribute of kindness all Israel have a holy soul, etc. However, from the viewpoint of the attribute of judgment, it is clear that the judgment on every person is different considering their spiritual stature, each person’s service of Hashem, etc. However, Korach and his followers were mistaken, since they dealt only with externalities of the attribute of kindness. The claims of Korach and his followers were external, and they were really led by arrogance, anger, and will for conflict which is harsh judgment led by evil. Similarly, “baldness” signifies the external loss of hair, however, it signifies such only where, in essence, there should be hair. Also, just as making the Levites “bald” only “sweetens” the Levites in a more external sense, but does not change the essence of the Levites as associated with the attribute of judgment.
This understanding also explains how Korach is related to the theme of “ ïce” as described above. Ice is water that takes form as a hard solid. Water, according to the Kabbalists, represents the attribute of kindness, while solids take on the attribute of judgment. Korach’s revolt may be compared to a water-system that seems to bring life and blessing, but this system is frozen as ice, causing much destruction, severing, etc. as a frozen pipe-system is known to create. Here too we see the complexity of the external attribute of kindness and the attribute of judgment intertwined in the name and figure of Korach. Therefore, measure for measure, Korach, representing ïce, liquid that becomes solid, was “swallowed” into the place where the solid rock becomes liquid in the form of magma and lava, to show Korach’s true incentives of harsh judgment and evil.
Korach aroused conflict, and therefore the depths of the earth took the life of his and his followers. However, in Hebron, the depths of the earth, i.e the tombs of our Patriarchs, give life and merit to those upon the earth. This is indeed in virtue of the kindness of our Patriarchs as we say in all our prayers, änd He remembers the kindness of the Patriarchs and brings a redeemer for their descendants with love.”
Miracles from the Holy Land: Yom Kippur War, 1973
When it was first proposed, the idea of transporting tanks across the Suez Canal on a floating bridge seemed impossible, but this miraculous idea proved to be genius. On October 17, 1973, a number of IDF Armored Brigades crossed the canal and later on encircled the Egyptian Third Army. This is considered one of the greatest military achievements of the war and eventually led us to victory in the Sinai Peninsula.