“They assembled themselves against Moshe and Aharon and said to them, “You take too much on yourselves! After all, the entire community is holy, every one of them, and Adonai is among them. So why do you lift yourselves up above Adonai’s assembly?”-Numbers 16:3
This might come as a surprise to you but the complaints and moaning of Korah, Datan, and Aviram were connected to the TZITZIT.
“What?!” you say?
Well, here’s the thing.
At this time, all the people of Israel were wearing TZITZIT and it affected some of them in a prideful way.
The purpose of the TZITZIT was to serve as a visual reminder to the people to keep HASHEM’s commandments.
However, recall we also learned that symbolically,the TZITZIT represented a certain degree of priestly status and nobility that was to be carried by every Israelite.
Apparently, this notion really went to the head of Korah, the rebellious Levite who was leading the charge against Moses.
That’s the meaning behind the statement “After all, the entire community is holy, every one of them, and Adonai is among them“.
The rebels had wrongly concluded for their own selfish reasons that since they were also wearing the TZITZIT, they were now on an equal level with the priesthood and Moses.
This actually sheds much light concerning why Korah became all prideful and self-serving.
Although Korah was a Levite, his clan (the clan of Kohath) was NOT eligible to become priests.
Korah was jealous of this fact, plain and simple.
A quick review is in order here.
Remember the whole Tribe of Levi had been elected and separated away from the rest of Israel.
They were not even considered Israelites.
The Tribe of Levi were NOT part of the 12 Tribes of Israel and would not even be getting a land inheritance.
Next, recall also that the Tribe of Levi itself had been split into two groups:
The Group who could become priests
the group who could NOT become priests.
The group who could become priests could ONLY come from the line of Aaron.
Keep this fact in mind, because it’s going to be important to understand when we begin studying some of the deeper political aspects of Israel’s history much much later on.
The group who could not become priests or the non-priestly Levites as I sometimes call them were those who were assigned the work of supporting the priests.
These folks (the non-priestly Levites) were to maintain and transport the Tabernacle whenever God directed Israel to pick up camp and move.
The others were to serve as armed guards and even musicians.
However, the one thing the non-priestly Levites would NEVER be able to do was wear the priestly garbs and enter inside the Sanctuary Tent.
The performance of these duties were restricted to ONLY the priests.
Understand that from here on out, whenever we come across the phrase “Levites and Priests”, these two words are NOT synonyms.
We are talking about two different groups who had been assigned differing roles in the Lord’s Kingdom.
And yes, these groups also carried differing levels of HOLINESS.
Now I hope you’re catching the big life lesson takeaway here.
Because what we’re studying about right now presents to us the SINGLE BIGGEST, ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE REASON why there is no peace in the world.
Can you see what it is?
IT IS COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHER PEOPLE, PERIOD!
Over my lifetime, I’ve done a lot of thinking about this and I really think that if one was to simplify down to its barest bones the one supreme cause for all of the of frustration in the world and all of the fights and conflicts and wars, ultimately it would boil down to this one thing: COMPARING YOURSELVES TO OTHER PEOPLE AND FEELING INFERIOR AS A RESULT.
Here are some examples of the negative and debilitating streams of thought from my own personal life that have plagued me and sometimes turned me into an emotional train wreak.
“God, why didn’t you make me taller?”
“How come that idiot is making more money than me?”
“How come you’ve never blessed me with a wife and kids God?”
“How come I had to suffer the misfortune of being born into a broken family of dysfunctional unbelievers who constantly deride my faith in you God?”
“How come you never gave me the power to control my sexual desires in my twenties and thirties so I could have transmuted that energy into more productive pursuits instead of becoming a fire-breathing, raging porno-holic?”
Do you see the source of all that negativity?
For the most part, it literally stems from me COMPARING myself to others and thinking myself inferior as a result.
Or comparing myself to some arbitrary societal standard that coldly judges others about where people should be at certain ages or stages in life.
And on a bigger scale, do you know what I think the ultimate cause of anti-Semitism is?
Yup, you guessed it.
Gentiles comparing themselves to Jews and deep down inside feeling inferior as a result.
The whole reason the gentile world is jealous of the Jews is because of their God-chosen status, period.
The pogroms throughout history, Nazism, the current Palestinian conflict, all of it stems from one reason.
They all suffered from the sin of Korah, the rebellious Levite who we’re studying about right now.
In other words, they began to harbor jealousy by comparing themselves to another group and feeling inferior as a result.
I can understand Korah’s jealousy.
I’ve been there.
I’ve literally wanted to bury an axe in some people’s heads due to simple jealousy.
So what’s the solution?
Again, the solution is just as simple as identifying the cause.
Accept who God has created you to be and the current situation in your life He has placed you in.
Yeah, I know it’s easier said than done.
But if you really believe that HASHEM created all things and is in control of everything, I can’t think of any other solution than this.
Look at how Moses responded to Korah’s jealousy.
“Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?”-Numbers 16:8-11
Are you catching the essence of what Moses is saying here?
He’s basically saying “STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS and be grateful for the good things the Lord has already given you”.
Moses is right.
The glass can be half full or half empty.
It all depends on the perspective you decide to choose.
And God has given you the free will to make that choice.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“What is causing all the quarrels
and fights among you?
Isn’t it your desires battling inside you?
You desire things and don’t have them.
You kill, and you are jealous,
and you still can’t get them.
So you fight and quarrel.
The reason you don’t have
is that you don’t pray!
Or you pray and don’t receive,
because you pray with the wrong motive,
that of wanting to indulge your own desires.”
“Only let each person live the life
the Lord has assigned him
and live it in the condition
he was in when God called him.
This is the rule I lay down
in all the congregations.
Was someone already circumcised
when he was called?
Then he should not try to
remove the marks of his circumcision.
Was someone uncircumcised
when he was called?
He shouldn’t undergo b’rit-milah.
Being circumcised means nothing,
and being uncircumcised means nothing;
what does mean something
is keeping God’s commandments.
Each person should remain in the condition
he was in when he was called.”
-1 Corinthians 7:17-20