Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Haftorah Beam - Korach

Both the Torah portion and the Haftorah are concerned with the relationship of the people of Israel to government/authority figures.  In both stories, there is a legitimate leader (Moses/Samuel).  In both cases, the people seek an alternate leader (Korach/king) with a reasonable-sounding pretext. In both cases, the legitimate leader establishes his reputation for virtue.

There, however, the two stories diverge.  In the Torah, the rebels are punished, dramatically and violently.  They are literally swallowed up by the earth, and a plague spreads among their supporters. In the Haftorah, the prophet Samuel grants their request and annoints Saul as the new king.  Only then does he warn them:

13 "Well, the Lord has set a king over you! Here is the king that you have chosen, that you have asked for.
14 "If you will revere the Lord, worship Him, and obey Him, and will not flout the Lord's command, if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, [well and good]. 15 But if you do not obey the Lord and you flout the Lord's command, the hand of the Lord will strike you as it did your fathers.
16 "Now stand by and see the marvelous thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 It is the season of the wheat harvest. I will pray to the Lord and He will send thunder and rain; then you will take thought and realize what a wicked thing you did in the sight of the Lord when you asked for a king."
18 Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel. 19 The people all said to Samuel, "Intercede for your servants with the Lord your God that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins the wickedness of asking for a king." 20 But Samuel said to the people, "Have no fear. You have, indeed, done all those wicked things. Do not, however, turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away to follow worthless things, which can neither profit nor save but are worthless. 22 For the sake of His great name, the Lord will never abandon His people, seeing that the Lord undertook to make you His people.
Submitting to a king was a risky move, spiritually speaking.  Previously, G*d alone was seen as King.  Will the people's allegiance now be divided?  Will they turn away from the commandments?  The prophet reassures the people that as long as they maintain their virtue they will be all right.  As history later showed, they were not able to maintain it more than a couple of generations before becoming corrupted.

Which strategy was better?  How is this applicable today?

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