Parshas Korach

   A person can only merit reaching the level of Moshe Rabbeinu as a gift from Hashem. The minute that a person thinks that he is Moshe Rabbeinu, that he achieved the level of Moshe, he immediately becomes Korach. Korach thought he was Moshe Rabbeinu! And Moshe thought that he was Korach! This is because Moshe always would say to himself, “Who am I really? I’m not fit to get up for Chatzos. I’m not fit to study Torah. I am not fit to do hisbodedus. I am not fit for anything. When Moshe would get up for Chatzos, he would look at it as a gift from Hashem. Moshe knew that everything was a gift from Hashem. Moshe, who was humble and self-effacing, merited rising up and up and up to level of Ain Sof. Whereas Korach, who was arrogant and thought that he was Moshe, went down lower and lower until he was swallowed by the earth.
   Korach was given an important task from heaven. Hashem made him a talented orator which he was supposed to use with the Chessed Elyon, the highest level of kindness, to unify and strengthen the nation and restore their belief in Moshe Rabbeinu. Korach knew very well who Moshe Rabbeinu was. He just couldn’t overcome his own jealousy and his hatred. Korach was supposed to unify the people so that they would believe in Moshe Rabbeinu and would be included in the general soul of Israel, which means knowing that I am on a lower level than everyone else. When can a person become included in Klal Yisrael? “When I know that I am on a lower level than everyone else. I am on the bottom. There is no one lower than me.” This is what Moshe Rabbeinu merited having, as it is said about him, “The man Moshe was very humble, more than any other person on the face of the earth”(Bamidbar 12:3). If Korach had been successful in uniting all of Israel and bringing them to Moshe Rabbeinu, then he would have been able to rise up “above the level of space” and he would have brought the entire nation of Israel to the level of “above space.” The nation already had lost their connection with Moshe Rabbeinu who was going around with his face covered, hiding himself. Slowly, the nation began to forget: far from the eyes—far from the heart. Whatever a person doesn’t see, he forgets about. When a person is in the physical world, inside a body, he doesn’t see things. Korach’s job was, according to Rebbe Nasan, to bring the nation back to their faith in Moshe Rabbeinu and to bring them out of their state of forgetfulness. But Korach didn’t accomplish this mission because of his arrogance and conceit and his desire to rule. The “Asara Maamaros” explains that Korach was fitting to be the leader of the nation of Israel. Everyone saw Korach flying in the air. Korach, with all his family and with all his brothers, flew through the air because they were the ones who carried the ark, and “the ark lifted up those who carried it.” If Korach was carried in the air, then wouldn’t Moshe also have been have been carried in the air? Certainly! But Moshe hid his level. Moshe walked on the earth. Moshe was the “exception” and walked with his legs, slowly, using a cane, and so everyone ran after Korach. Are people running after you? Wonderful—excellent! Use this for good and tell everyone about the greatness of Moshe Rabbeinu—the Moshe Rabbeinu who walks on the earth—he is truly something else. Moshe Rabbeinu hides who he is! If Moshe can cause Korach to fly, then certainly he can fly himself. Moshe Rabbeinu’s task was to get all Am Yisrael to fly in the air, to make it that all of Am Yisrael would travel on eagle’s wings.
   Korach made a mistake: he thought that Moshe was just extremely talented. Everyone saw that Moshe had been gifted with a lot of abilities. So, Korach figured he would work on attaining all of these talents and then he would also have all of these abilities. Apart from his mistakenly thinking that it was possible to achieve these abilities by learning them, he also made another mistake: he thought that Moshe got his power from Am Yisrael. He didn’t understand that it was Moshe’s own power that was influencing Am Yisrael, that Moshe was equal to all of Am Yisrael, that he was the root of all of the souls of Israel. He thought that the leader got his power from the nation, so the more chassidim a person had, the more followers he had, the more revered he was, the more power he would receive from the people. He thought that a leader’s energy and power to influence and speak was a product of how many followers he had. So he thought that Moshe got his power from the people and not that Moshe was the source of all the souls and that each and every soul was a spark of Moshe Rabbeinu. Korach said, “I’ll take the whole nation to my side. If Moshe’s power comes from the nation, then I will assemble the nation and I will gather the entire nation for myself, and with this power I will lead the nation and will do miracles and wonders and will go up to Heaven.
   Rebbe Nasan says that Moshe was not someone who had worked on himself developed his abilities and traits; rather, he was handicapped and unable to speak well. He wasn’t a talented speaker and didn’t have the power of persuasion. So what was Moshe’s outstanding trait? It was that he was absolutely nothing! Moshe was completely encompassed in the light of Ain Sof. He had totally merged with Hashem. He was not a part of existence. He didn’t have any existence. He didn’t have any concealment. He didn’t have any personal feelings. He did everything for Heaven’s sake—only for Hashem Yisborach. So this is why Hashem chose him to be the leader of Am Yisrael who would take Am Yisrael out of Egypt, who would bring the 10 plagues on Pharaoh in Egypt, who would bring the Clouds of Glory, and who would bring down the Torah from heaven. It was because he was completely nothing in and of himself, and he didn’t have any talents or abilities of his own. He didn’t get his power from Am Yisrael, but rather, Moshe’s power came only from Hashem Yisborach Himself—because he was nothing. A person can not imitate ayin. You can imitate an orator. You can imitate a preacher. You can imitate being some kind of leader.
   Rebbe Nasan says that this level of ayin—nothingness can come only though being cancelled to Moshe: believing that Moshe is something altogether different, the likes of which we cannot conceive. It is difficult for us to understand and it is difficult for us to achieve. It is not a matter of abilities or being a gifted speaker or anything else. Moshe didn’t bring down the Clouds of Glory through his oratory skills, and he didn’t bring Israel out of Egypt with verbal eloquence. He did not have a talent for leadership, but he was a leader from the upper realms of kindness (the Chessed Elyon). He was a leader because he was nothing. He was a complete non-entity. He didn’t exist. This is what Rav Nasan says: this was Korach’s mistake: that because of his jealousy and his desire for honor, Hashem covered his eyes from seeing who Moshe was, because Moshe was nothing and no one could be on this level of being nothing other than Moshe. To be nothing, a person needs to cancel himself to Moshe and receive it from Moshe himself.  

   Master of the Universe, please help me to merit seeing my own true lowliness, to merit achieving true humility, to feel myself actually lower than my very low level. I shouldn’t fool myself, chas v’shalom, into thinking that I already have reached some level or degree of achievement. Let me merit that lowliness and humility will be my portion, and that I should be like Moshe Rabbeinu—may he rest in peace—who never thought highly of himself and diminished his worth from day to day, until he merited to be include in the Light of Ain Sof.

B’Ohr Pnei HaMelech
Engraved on our Hearts
   A person can be either the aspect of “engraved” or “erased.”
   Engraved – The Torah is engraved on the heart, just as it was engraved on a baby before he came out into the air of this world.
   Erased – When a person isn’t in a state of being inspired spiritually, when he doesn’t raise his head up to heaven, when he doesn’t think about Hashem, when he doesn’t speak to Hashem, then he turns into being “erased”, chas v’shalom. The best example is Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Orpah left Naomi and returned to her homeland. Ruth is the symbol of “awakening from below.” She went with Naomi despite the fact that this was a sign of failure and loss. She had lost her husband and two sons and remained poor and impoverished. So how is it that Ruth still went after her? She saw that Naomi had the No’am Elyon (the upper pleasantness). And we are the same. Despite the difficulties, despite the restrictions, we do not panic, but we carry on, yearning for Hashem. Whatever we do, it is to come close to Hashem, to feel the No’am, the pleasantness of Hashem. Ruth went toward the Torah, to the tablets, the engraved tablets, so that they would be engraved on her heart. So too do we need to abandon the klippa of Orpah, which has the same Hebrew letters as Pharaoh, and come close to Ruth, to the tablets which are engraved on our hearts.


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