The best known rebellion in the Torah is retold in this week’s Parasha. We even name the Parasha after the chief antagonist Korach. Pretty nice reward for someone who dared to challenge Moshe and God, huh? Another irony is that God orders Moshe to turn the 250 firepans on which the rebels performed their acid test of leadership into a special covering for the Altar itself. (Bamidbar 17:1-5) What?!? How could the tools of these wicked, despicable people be used for the Altar. Shouldn’t the firepans have been buried or destroyed? Perhaps, if we assume that Korach was all evil or that his followers were also. God doesn’t. We learn that God sees each of us as very complex individuals. Yes, Korach was jealous and power hungry, but he and his followers were also striving for greater holiness and a role in the divine service and God saw that spark of holy desire. It was Moses who ordered the incense test that the 250 brought. It was a peaceful test. This was not a violent coup d’ etat. There was holiness in the firepans and an honest belief that they were deserving of the honor of service as well. God looks for the good in each of us and so must we all. Each of us has a holiness as well as the contrary. God asks us to find the holy and sacred in everyone and everything and to harness it for good purposes.
Ruth Bergman teaches us this Shabbat at 10:00 a.m. at Adat Shalom Synagogue in the Shiffman Chapel. Her teaching helps us see the kedusha in the Torah and our people.