In this week’s Torah portion, Korach, we read about the rebellion of Korach and his group against Moshe’s leadership over the Jewish people and Aharon’s priesthood.
Korach and his group claimed that all Jews are holy. The entire nation heard the Ten Commandments directly from G-d. Why should there be any hierarchy of leadership amongst the Jewish nation?
Moshe attempted to dissuade Korach from his attack, yet Korach persisted.
Afterward, Moshe invited Korach to offer a sacrifice at the same time as Aharon, leaving G-d to choose who was worthy of the high priesthood.
Moshe then prayed to G-d not to “turn to their offering.” The Midrash explains that Moshe was concerned because Korach’s faction had a part in the public offering twice daily on the altar. Since they were part of the greater community, G-d might respond to their offering as well.
The public offerings in the Temple contained two opposite elements. On the one hand, each individual Jew had a share in these offerings since they all gave money toward the offerings. On the other hand, it was a communal offering, not a personal offering.
There are some societies that focus on the good of the general public, giving it precedence over the individual’s needs. There are other societies that look out for the needs of the individual, even if it might hurt the public.
Moshe was able to see the public and, at the same time, not lose sight of each individual. He was able to blend the needs of the community with genuine concern for each individual.
This Shabbos, the third of Tammuz, is the 28th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
The Rebbe personified the approach of Moshe. Even as he was involved in global matters, he did not lose sight of the needs of each individual. He displayed care toward each person who came to him. He sent his shluchim all over the world, even to places with small Jewish populations, because the spiritual and physical needs of even one single Jew is so important.
Maimonides writes that the world is likened to a scale that is perfectly balanced. One good deed of one individual can tip the scale and bring salvation to the entire world. May we merit very soon to tip the scale forever, with the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our day. PJC
Rabbi Shneur Horowitz is the director of Chabad Lubavitch of Altoona, Pennsylvania. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabanim of Greater Pittsburgh.