יום חמישי י"ג באדר תשפ"א 25/02/2021
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Weekly Parsha

Parshat Korach

What Type of Dispute is not for the Sake of Heaven?

Menachem Ginosar 14/06/2009 08:00
"What type of dispute is for the sake of Heaven? The disageement between Hillel and Shammai. [What type of dispute is] not for the sake of Heaven? The dispute [started by] Korach and his cohorts" (Pirke Avot 5:17).

The verbal skirmish Korach and his collaborators launched against the leadership of Moshe and Aharon has become a byword for inappropriate disputes. In fact, our Sages of blessed memory use it as a paradigm:

This quarrel models what type of disagreement we should avoid.

First, let's consider who joined the dispute after Korach made his original complaint.

Korach was a widely recognized and respected member of the community. In contemporary terms, he would be considered "high society." 

Yet, the first to join him in his efforts to undermine the leadership of Moshe and Aharon were none other than Dasan and Aviram, fomenters of divisiveness even during the years in Egypt. Brawling was their forte. They were not Korach's natural allies.

Dasan and Aviram were the two Hebrews who fought in Egypt (Shemos 2:13). They were the same fellows who disobeyed Moshe's instructions regarding the manna; they saved leftovers of the manna overnight, in defiance of Moshe's clear request not to do so (Shemos 16:20). And these were the same men who had just spoken words of incitement against Moshe, inflaming the people against him.

These bits of information help identify the aims of the dispute, and whether the dispute was appropriate or flawed.
It's important to follow what occurs after this first stage of Korach's dispute.

Let's note that a thinking person who wants someone to correct an oversight or to change his or her behavior will speak privately with the other person regarding any request for change or improvement. 

Korach and company did things differently. They deliberately chose to air their complaints in public. They gathered 250 community leaders, all garbed in prayer shawls completely dyed with the special "techeles" dye, and defiantly approached Moshe Rabbeinu with the [rhetorical and cynical] question, "Does a prayer shawl (tallis) that is completely dyed with the color 'techeles' require fringes dyed with 'techeles' as well?"

When examining a dispute, it's a good idea to take a look at the way members of the party who started the dispute regard each other. The main disputants on Korach's team, for instance, did not get along with each other in day-to day life. In fact, they detested each other!

Moshe Rabbeinu had asked "Why do you strike your brother?" after he saw Dasan and Aviram fighting in Egypt. Only their common hatred of Moshe "united" them enough to fight their disgraceful battle against him.

Jews in Eretz Israel today can be described by a wide range of adjectives. The spectrum of styles of worship, belief, study, and dress among Jews here is vast. Naturally, the danger of dispute and misunderstanding between sectors and among communities looms large.

The general principles regarding disputes, which we defined in this week's column, can be used to identify the type of dispute that is not for the sake of heaven, and from which we must distance ourselves as much as possible.