Friday, June 24
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 07:00 pm – Mincha
- 08:07 pm – Candle Lighting
Saturday, June 25
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 08:57 am – Latest Time for Kriat Shema
- 10:15 am – Junior Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 04:45 pm – Ladies’ Class in Brachot (at the Rabinowitz home, 265 Fellsway East)
- 06:45 pm – Men’s Class in Derech Hashem
- 07:40 pm – Mincha
- 08:10 pm – Se’udah Shlishit
- 09:00 pm – Ma’ariv
- 09:15 pm – Shabbat Ends
Week of June 26 – July 1
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
- 08:10 pm – Monday – Friday
- 08:40 pm – Monday – Thursday
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Weekly Words of Torah
Insights into Parshat Korach by Mr. Eitan Westrich of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
Parashat Korach recounts one of the most disturbing events in Chumash. Korach and his followers accuse Moshe Rabeinu of being a plenipotentiary leader, claiming that “the whole assembly in its entirety is holy” (כל העדה כלם קדושים). As a result of his recusant excoriations, Hashem causes the Earth to “open her mouth” (ותפתח הארץ את פיה) and bury Korach and his coterie (approximately 250 people) alive. At first glance, this gruesome death seems somewhat excessive. After all, Korach was merely claiming that all of בני ישראל are holy, or, in other words, that everyone is intrinsically equal. Indeed, liberal western society would likely hail Korach as something of an ideological prodigy, a visionary possessing a societal wisdom that was quite uncommon in his era. So what about Korach’s ideology was so egregious?
To answer this, we must first examine the nature of equality. Equality, by definition, requires comparison: in order to arrive at the conclusion that two separate entities are equal, one must first compare and analyze them. Only once this analysis has been done, it is possible to determine that the two entities are identical with regards to whatever aspect was being analyzed. It is, however, impossible to conclude that two things are equal before comparing them (indeed, the Hebrew words for “equality” [שוויון] and “to compare” [להשוות] share the same etymological root, indicating that the two are inherently interrelated).
Judaism does not believe in any sort of societal comparisons. Each individual need evaluate only himself, and no other. Furthermore, contrary to what the Declaration of Independence would have you believe, all men are not created equal. Some people are born smarter than others. Others possess incredible talents from birth. A Kohen is created with a certain kedusha that a Yisrael can never hope to obtain. Every person is created with a unique set of kochot that are meant to be used to achieve one’s specifically-tailored purpose. Some purposes appear greater/more noble than others, and while all are essential to the world’s existence (else the person meant to achieve said purpose would never have been created), they are by no means equal. Moshe Rabeinu was created to be the greatest leader כלל ישראל would ever see. A shoe-maker in the same generation was created so that כלל ישראל would have shoes to wear. It is true that כלל ישראל did indeed need both, but no one can suggest that Moshe Rabeinu and the shoe-maker were equals.
Nevertheless, we must still explain the magnitude of Korach’s fallacy. By submitting that the entire congregation was equally holy, Korach threatened one of the basic foundations of Creation: that each and every individual is created as an entirely separate being that possesses his/her own specific teleological purpose that cannot be achieved by any other person. Introducing the concept of total societal/spiritual equality engenders the psychological perception that each person is free to pursue whatever aspirations one wishes. Because everyone is supposedly “equal”, anyone can accomplish whatever he wishes to accomplish rather than what he is meant to accomplish. Life begins to lose a sense of individualized purpose, and as such, man ceases to ponder what G-D wishes of him and instead begins to pursue his own maudlin desires. The result is a society which embarks on a dithyrambic frenzy to achieve false goals and meaningless ambitions rather than striving to attain that which the Creator desires of mankind, both individually and collectively.
Hashem created each and every person so that that person would contribute something to existence which no one else is capable of contributing. Not contributing that something is essentially violating the purpose of creation. Korach’s ideology, while quite politically correct, was intellectually fallacious and threatened to cause the masses to lose their sense of individual purpose, thereby causing them to never achieve what they were born to achieve. It is for this reason that he had to be silenced so viciously and abruptly. Jews must understand that they are meant to serve Hashem in a way that no one else can, both as the Chosen Nation, and as the individual children that G-D created.