Thursday, June 23, 2011

Parshat Korach

Basics here.

DovBear's posts on Korach are still on my recommended-reading list. (Ignore the comment count, which sometimes shows nothing, even when there are 80 comments--just go ahead and click on "comments.")

I already stated my view of the status of the tribe of Levi here--I think Miami Al is on to something. I repeat: What did the Kohanim (Priests) and/or Leviim (see DovBear post #1) do to earn such a choice piece of the pie (see Numbers, chapter 18, verses 8-21)? Was this really a reward for their service in the Tent of Meeting, and later, in the Temple? In that case, the number of men chosen--all the men of an entire tribe--was considerably higher than the number needed. (I wonder whether the choice of this text for Haftarat Korach might indicate some discomfort on the part of the rabbis--see here for most of the haftarah.) Or was it tribute in return for military protection, as Miami Al posits?

On the other hand, is it possible that I'm misreading the Ancient Near East? What was the status of firstborn men, which the tribe of Levi replaced/usurped?

For the record (and maybe it's just because I have the good fortune to be a citizen of a democracy), I think Korach had a point.


Anonymous AnecDatum said...

Just wanted to mention that I'm still a little bit thrown by the idea that Levi'im were a fighting force, since at the beginning of Bamidbar/Numbers, Moshe/Moses is commanded to count "All those who go out to war" (Nm 1:3)... and after the numbering, "But the tribe of Levi you shall not count." (Nm 1:49) Sounds to me like the Levi'im aren't going out to war.
This, combined with the Kohanic/priestly laws forbidding contact with the dead, makes me hesitant to believe the function of the Levi'im could have been military.
(I know it's MiamiAl's theory, so I hope I'm not offending anyone by asking about it here instead of wherever he blogs, but if you agree with it, could you clarify?)

Shabbat shalom to you!

Fri Jun 24, 11:08:00 AM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

AnecDatum, you've made some very good points. So, if the Leviim *weren't* a fighting force, that leaves me at a loss to understand how an entire tribe got to lord it up over every other tribe and extract tribute, in the form of tithes and sacrifices, with so little successful protest (Korach and company having lost their lives in the effort).

Fri Jun 24, 12:50:00 PM 2011  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>