Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Bamidbar (Numbers) 16:1 - 18:32
Moses and Aaron are no strangers to the grumblings of the Israelites, but to challenge their authority given to them by HaShem was something new. We all at some point have been challenged for our positions either in work or in our homes. Most of us could probably say we have made a few challenges ourselves. The key is how we stand up to those challenges. That is what makes us worthy of our positions that we have been given. When Moses is confronted by Korah about the Priesthood he addresses the confrontation immediately. It's apparent that some time and recruiting has gone on without Moses knowing, with there being three Reubenites, Dathan, Abiram and On, and 250 other Israelites joining in on the rebellion.
Korah's dialog with Moses simply states that HaShem has made everyone holy so why does Moses set himself up above the assembly. Insinuating that Moses authority was not given to him but "he put himself in this position" is some what insulting. After all, Moses tried to turn down HaShem's offer at the burning bush but in a sense was given an offer he could not refuse. Those who are in positions of leadership in their jobs are often times confronted with this same attitude from those who report to them. Often times being questioned about their decisions and the way they lead. We can see from Korah's dialog that he speaks of a communal holiness that everyone in the camp is holy, this is true. But he forgets that there is a degree of holiness that HaShem draws closer to Himself that no man can promote himself to. This is the holiness that Moses speaks of.
Moses sets the challenge of the fire pots and incense before HaShem to see who HaShem will choose. Moses knows that he and Aaron have been chosen for their duties and also knows that it is Aaron's duty to offer incense before HaShem as Stated in Ex 30:7-10. Certainly all of those involved in the rebellion remembered what had happened to Nadab and Abihu when they violated the decree. So this would be a defining test without question to see if anyone or everyone was holy enough to preform the duties of High Priest. We see that Dathatn and Abiram never make it to the test. In the Parasha, HaShem directs Moses "Say to the assembly, move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram". Moses with the elders of Israel went to the tents and did as HaShem directed them. Along with Moses's continued stress on the word "Chosen" we also see him make clear that he is not there on his own accord but has been "Sent". Nu 17:28 "This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea". We also see Yeshua walking under that same authority in Jn 4:34 "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work". Both Moses and Yeshua, being under the authority of HaShem are totally committed to their positions. No indication in scripture is given to what will be done until Moses speaks of it. This is fascinating in the fact that Moses speaks of the earth opening and swallowing up the men, their families and all that they owned. Not directed to speak these words, HaShem honors Moses's request and performs all that Moses spoke. If all these things would not of happened the validity of Moses's position of authority would of continued to be questioned even more so. What a great statement of faith by Moses in walking in the authority given to him. There after we see who HaShem chooses when fire consumes the 250 men offering incense before HaShem.
Moses was put into the position to lead the Israelites as most of us have been put into the position to lead in our families, jobs and Synagogues. When we are challenged for our position of authority we must respond immediately as Moses did. In a short period of time Korah was able to recruit 250 men in his rebellion without Moses knowing. If we know about a rebellion in our life and don't address it immediately, how much larger will it get when we decide to deal with it. Moses knew the authority that he was given and understood how to walk in that authority to the full as should we when opposition comes against us. We may even also learn, from Korah's point of view, to respect those who hold authority above us.