Saturday, June 21, 2014

Parashat Korach, 5774/2014 edition: Literal overkill, in my opinion

I was too busy this week to post until now--sorry for the delay.  And since I'm still pretty busy, this'll be quick.

Basics here.

Link to my previous Korach posts here.

One of the best Korach posts ever, by DovBear.

My thoughts for this year regarding this morning's reading:  Was all this bloodshed really necessary?  Couldn't Korach, Dathan and Aviram and their followers have been punished in a less deadly manner?  And why were their families punished?  And why the plague against the people for protesting against the bloodshed?  Sometimes I think HaShem is pretty bloodthirsty.

My husband's contribution:  In 40 years of wandering, these were the only rebellions?!  Were there other rebellions of which we have no written record?  Why were these rebellions reported in the Torah, whereas others were not?


Anonymous AnDat said...

Couple of thoughts:
A lot of the commentators think the protestors seem to be continuing the rebellion, rejecting/attempting to undermine Moshe's authority.
Also (this part doesn't have a source) it seems like your question answers your husband's, and maybe vice versa as well: Would you rebel if the last people to try it were punished so harshly?
Although... what's your definition of "rebel"? The previous parsha, Shlach, has two incidents I can think of offhand that I, at least, might consider a rebellion; see 14:4, where they wanted to return to Egypt, and 14:40-45,in which they went into battle against Moshe's explicit command.
(None of this is the standard answer for why the punishment was so harsh, and why it included their families; the usual answer for the latter is a combination of the idea that bad stuff has broad consequences, and the idea that their families encouraged them, quoting a midrash saying that On ben Pelet's wife did the reverse, and with her help he pulled out of Korach's crowd before it was too late, hence our never hearing from him again. The usual answer for the former includes the consequences of attempting to undercut Moshe's and Aharon's legal and moral authority, and the way that Korach and co were rebelling not only against Moshe and Aharon but also God and Torah, and I don't think I can do it justice.)

Mon Jun 23, 05:06:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

AnDat, you may have a point about future rebellions having been nipped in the bud due to fear of divine retaliation. Maybe this was the "last straw" for HaShem, as HaShem had already put up with two previous rebellions in the last parasha alone (as you mentioned), not to mention the challenge of Miriam and Aharon.

I'm never happy about families being punished as a unit. I am amused, though, by the midrash that On ben Pelet's wife "rescued" her husband from further participation in the rebellion by literally letting down her hair in public (apparently not a respectable thing for a woman to do at that time) in front of their tent to prevent anyone from approaching.

Wed Jun 25, 10:31:00 AM 2014  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

First rule of middle eastern dictatorships:

Protestors/Rebellions are crushed harshly

Second rule of middle eastern dictatorships:

Collective Punishment of families discourages rebellion

Men will gladly risk their lives for a cause they believe in, they will not risk the lives of their families.

There is a reason that Iraq's funding of PLO terrorism was to support the families of suicide bombers.

Sadly, the middle east has not changed over the millennia.

Thu Jun 26, 04:48:00 PM 2014  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I think you're probably right on all counts, Miami Al, which, in this case, is unfortunate.

Fri Jun 27, 10:35:00 AM 2014  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>