Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Torah Connection - Korach

I am very very late with this installment.  I struggled with this parsha greatly.  Korach led 250 community leaders to "Question Authority" of Moses and Aaron, and after a thorough humiliation (wherein their attempts to bring a special sacrifice failed miserably) they and their families are "swallowed up by the earth".  Ouch.  What is the purpose here?  Is it not a good thing to strive to excel?

This commentary finally gave me a new way of seeing it.  It distinguished Korach's spiritual strivings from the act of rebellion against Moshe and Aaron.  Defying their leadership, while still in the precarious existence in the desert, could jeopardize the whole journey to the Promised Land.  It had to be nipped in the bud. However, an interesting hint that there is more going on is indicated with the choice of phrases.

When Korach and his friends first confront Moses and Aaron, they say,
3 They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord's congregation?"
And in his response to them, Moses does a tu quoque:
 6 Do this: You, Korah and all your band, take fire pans, 7 and tomorrow put fire in them and lay incense on them before the Lord. Then the man whom the Lord chooses, he shall be the holy one. You have gone too far, sons of Levi!"
The expression used in both cases is "Rav Lachem"  רב לכם.  And where else does this construction come up?  When Moses pleads with G*d to rescind the decree forbidding him from entering Israel.  G*d says, "Rav l'cha"  רב לך.   As Korach, and then Moses said, G*d says to Moses -- "You have gone too far!".  The common denominator in all cases is that the individual has taken a lofty motive and corrupted it.  Korach accuses Moses and Aaron of turning leadership into tyranny. Moses accuses Korach of turning piety into self-aggrandizement and idolatry.  And G*d accuses Moses of trying to use their special connection to curry favors.

What does this mean for us today?

What does it mean to "go to far" in the quest of excellence?

Interestingly, it seems to echo my recent conversations here on the subject of "how far" it is appropriate to go in pursuing treatments for Trisomy 31 and other disabilities.  Loving, dedicated parents seek to provide their children with every opportunity -- maximize their potential!  This is a good thing, just as the underlying motivations of both Korach and Moses were positive.  They sought to serve more fully and deeply, and to rise to ever greater spiritual heights -- maximize their spiritual potential!  However, it is too easy to fall prey to the lure of רב לך and focus on the "potential" at the expense of both the child as s/he is right now and the parent-child relationship.  It is possible to "go too far".

How apt that I struggled with finding something to say in this while I myself was embroiled in an impassioned debate on the appropriateness of "going too far".

No comments:

Post a Comment

Jewish Bloggers
Powered By Ringsurf