Message from the Rabbi


We have now entered the month of Tamuz. In this month we have the fast day of the 17th of Tamuz (09.07) that starts the three weeks of mourning over the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem and ends with the 9th of Av (30.07).

Why was the Temple destroyed? There are of course many answers in the Rabbinic literature but the most famous one is in the Talmud in Yoma where it says: the second Temple where they were studying Torah, doing good deeds, why was it destroyed? because of Sin’at chinam, baseless hatred.

We have a version of hatred in our Parasha too, Korach starts a fight with Moshe and divides the nation. What is the claim of Korach? Rashi tells us what the thought process of Korach was. He was the cousin of Moshe, Moshe’s father Amram was the oldest brother, so Korach understood that they two would be the leader and the priest, but every tribe had an individual leader, the Nasi. Korach being the first son of the next brother said to himself that that belongs to him, but Moshe gave that to Elitzafan ben Uziel, the son of the youngest brother, skipping over Korach.

What did he do? He gathered 250 highly scholered men, heads of Sanedrin as Rashi says, and they came to Moshe with a question. The Torah tells us that when we have a garment a Talit with 4 corners, one thread has to be blue. So they all wore a Talit that was all blue and asked, does this still need the one thread of blue? another question was if a room full of Tora rolls needs a Mezuza, because the text of the Mezuza is already in the Tora rolls. Moshe said yes to both. So they laughed at him and said that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that it makes no sense.

Was this all Sin’at chinam? Did Korach hate Moshe for no reason at all? of course not! he felt that he wasn’t treated fairly and this was his way of protesting. So what was the big sin of Korach then? Is there even such a thing as Sin’at chinam, baseless hatred? of course not! We always find a way to justify hate against other people, all based on actual things they did to us and sometimes very justified reasons.

So what did Korach do? He divided the nation, and now, once he had followers, they also started to hate, and their hate was baseless, because the people with him had no gain from this fight, they just joined the protest. So although he might have had a justified reason to complain, he created baseless hatred all around the nation. And we all know how that story ended, him and all his people were swallowed into the earth. And in Jerusalem, it destroyed the Temple.

Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum from Ihel, the Yismach Moshe (1758-1841) , from him the Siget and Satmar dynasties came out, he once told his grandchildren that in one of his previous lives he was in the generation of the Israelites that left Egypt. They asked him of course if he remembers the fight between Korech and Moshe, he said yes of course. They then asked him on whose side he was by that fight. The Yismach Moshe answered that he stayed out of it, because on both sides there were highly learned and well respected people, so he decided not to get involved.

But that exactly is the problem with creating fights and spreading hatred, other people feel they need to take sides and the circles of hatred keeps spreading, baseless hatred among people that have no gain from the whole original arguments.

Let us learn from history not to make the same mistakes in the future, let us spread baseless love instead of baseless hatred all around us so that we could merit from all the blessings in the Torah and rebuild what had been destroyed.