Holiness Through Unity

Korach, Moshe and Aharon’s cousin and fellow Levi, as well as his disciples rose up in a rebellion against Moshe and Aharon and complained (Bamidbar 16:3): “You have taken too much for yourselves, for the entire assembly-all of them- are holy (kulam kedoshim)…”

What was so bad about what Korach said? God also said (Shmot 19:6) “You shall be to me a kingdom of Kohanim and a holy nation (goy kadosh)”.

According to Rabbi Aharon Yaakov Greenberg, the difference is that if there is unity among the Jewish people, if they are truly a “goy kadosh”, holy nation of one heart and one soul then the holiness will emanate throughout the nation. When God spoke the words “goy kadosh”, He spoke in the singular (kadosh rather than kedoshim).

However, when the Jewish people were in a state of disunity, as in the episode of Korach, Korach spoke in the plural “kulam kedoshim” each individual is holy in their own right. The problem was that the community aspect was missing.

Sforno comments that a holy nation is a nation that will never perish but will exist forever.

The Jewish people can only achieve this status if we become unified.

Unfortunately, again today, the Jewish people are divided. We have to work on getting the secular and religious, those on the left and those on the right to come together despite their differences so that we can truly become a “mamlechet kohanim vegoy kadosh”, a kingdom of kohanim and a holy nation that will endure forever.