The Damage of a Machlokes
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
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There are many lessons to be learned from the Parsha of Korach. The horrible damage of machlokes, the corruption that can come with the yearning for power and the damage that ego can do. I’d like to focus on a little noticed lesson of the Parsha. An insight into human nature.
Moshe was the humblest of all men. Not just Jews but all men, not just in his generation but in all generations, not just our opinion but G-ds!
If Korach wants to discredit Moshe he could have taken many approaches. He could have attacked his oratory ability; he could have condemned his Egyptian background, his wife. Every leader has his skeletons in the closet and you can leave it to an opponent to find them. Yet Korach did not pull old skeletons. Instead he made the most absurd accusation. “Moshe” he said, “You are a baal gaava, you’re haughty!” How and why did Korach come up with the most incredible claim and hope to get the support of the people? Worse yet, he actually did get the support of the people, thousands of Jews thought Moshe was an over inflated self-important and conceited.
The Kotzker makes the following observation. You will find, he says, that one person accuses another he will accuse in the area that he excels in the most. Just think to yourself what area you excel in. Now think about what anyone in your life has suspected and accused you of. It’s always one in the same.
The great Rebbe of Ger, the Sfas Emes, takes the concept a bit deeper. There are 3 kinds of people, a truly vain person who conducts himself with self-aggrandizement and wreaks arrogance. Than there is the humble person who shuns kovod and runs in the other direction when seeing it. And than there is the truly humble person that doesn’t even notice whether people are honoring him or not. There is a visible difference between the haughty person and the seemingly modest one. But there is very little visible difference between the truly humble person and the truly arrogant one. Both do not protest their honor given them, one because he loves it and the other because he didn’t even notice.
The flock of Moses also accused Moshe of being a womanizer! How could this be? The answer is the same. There are certainly men whose behavior is totally unacceptable in this area. There are people that are so careful that when they talk to a member of the other gender they look in the other direction and than there is the true erlicher yid, whose mind is so pure the whole thing goes right over his head. To the outsider the truly holy person can look just like the truly opportunistic one. The people of Israel looked at Moshe and saw it upside down.
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