Korah: A Poor Example of a Leader

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Parshat Korach, Bamidbar 16:1-2 starts off with the incident about Korach’s rebellion: “Now Korach, the son of Itzhar, the son of Kehat, the son of Levi, and Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eliav, and On, the son of Pelet, sons of Reuven took men. And they rose up before Moshe, with 250 men from the children of Israel, leaders of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown.”


How did Korach, Datan and Aviram convince 250 important men to join their rebellion against Moshe?


Ibn Ezra explains that the group of rebels was made up of all kinds of grumblers and malcontents.


Korach’s rebellion took place right after the Leviim were separated and given the honors which were originally given to the Bechorim (first born sons).


B’nai Yisrael felt that Moshe took the honor away from the Bechorim because he wanted to give it to his own tribe.


The Leviim were upset because they would be subservient to the Kohanim.


Members of the tribe of Reuven felt that they were deprived of their birthright which was given to the tribe of Yosef. They may have felt that the birthright was given to Yosef because Yehoshua was a descendent of Yosef (from the tribe of Efraim).


Korach used the discontent of others for his own benefit.


Korach had strong leadership skills. He had the ability to gather people together and form a cohesive group. Unfortunately, instead of using these skills in a positive manner, he used them to promote negativity.


We must learn from Korach that if we are lucky enough to be blessed with leadership skills, it doesn’t pay to use them for the negative as in the end Korach and his followers were punished, as it says in Bamidbar16:31-32 “the ground that was under them split open. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households…”