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Two Minutes of Torah: Korach - The Most Gracious Leader

In our world of politics it can often feel like it's a choice of them or us.  Much of politics is now presented in black and white terms so that “you are with us or against us”; it's yes or no, and the grey of the middle has unfortunately been lost.  With the language and tone that dominates political discourse it is hard to imagine a situation where there can be real reconciliation or progress with people of different opinions working together. 
In this weeks Torah portion of Korach we seem to be presented with a black or white choice as Korach mounts a rebellion against Moses and Aaron.  At the beginning of the Torah portion Korach is adamant as he stands against Moses and Aaron saying to them: “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and Adonai is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above Adonai's congregation?” (Num. 16:3).  The challenge appears primarily to be directed at Moses and Aaron as the leaders of the people but it soon becomes clear this challenge was actually one against God and God's ability, or even right, to choose who would be the leader of the Israelite community.
In the way that Moses handles the rebellion we see why he was such an appropriate choice to lead. 
God’s response is swift. The ground opened up to swallow up Korach, Datan, Abiram and their households, then a fire consumed 250 of their followers.  Following this, the ‘Next day the whole Israelite community railed against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You two have brought death upon Adonai’s people!”’ (Num. 17:6).  In light of this second challenge God appears prepared to destroy the entire community and says to Moses: “Remove yourselves from this community, that I may annihilate them in an instant” (Num 17:10).
This might have been the easy option.  In an instant Moses and Aaron would have had their opponents removed, but instead they fell on their faces.  And ‘then Moses said to Aaron, “Take the fire pan, and put on it fire from the altar.  Add incense and take it quickly to the community and make expiation for them.  For wrath has gone forth from Adonai: the plague has begun!”’ (Num 17:11).  

Despite the fact that the people opposed Moses, despite their rebellion, and despite their constant grumbling, in that moment, as God is about to destroy the people Moses defends the people, those who supported him and those who are against him.  That is why he was chosen to lead the Israelites from slavery to freedom and to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai.  He was the most gracious leader and the only one who could bring an entire community together.

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