Watch: A short lesson by Reb Yoel Kahn on Parshas Korach and Gimmel Tammuz with English subtitles and a transcript.
Watch a short lesson by Reb Yoel Kahn on Parshas Korach and Gimmel Tammuz with English subtitles and a transcript.
Scroll down for the English transcript.
This week’s parshah relates how Korach, joined by 250 leaders of the Jewish nation, approached Moshe and argued: “The entire nation is holy. How do you have the right to rule over the nation of Hashem?!”
Their claim should not be understood as promoting total equality and dissolving any leadership role. After all, they themselves were leaders, and they were hoping to merit the rights to the kehunah. They understood that certain individuals are on a higher rank than others, but they opposed the type of leadership personified by Moshe and Aharon.
The Rebbe explains in Likkutei Sichos (Volume 4) that the story of Korach came as a continuation to the episode of the meraglim. The meraglim desired to remain in the desert, secluded from civilization, enabling them to focus on Torah study and spiritual growth. This was a mistake, since it is the actual of performance of mitzvos that is most crucial. To this end it was necessary to conquer Eretz Yisrael, the only place where all the mitzvos can be fulfilled.
Drawing from the conclusion of the previous story, Korach came along and said: “If it is true that it is actual mitzvos that are of utmost importance, why do you consider yourself higher than everyone else? When it comes to action, all are equal!”
Korach understood that certain people are higher than the rest. When a person has a halachic question, he must approach a rov to give a ruling, because he himself may not know the halachah in this case. However, many people can fill such a post; this type of leadership is not exclusive. Korach and his cohorts envied the position of Kohen Gadol, but in their minds it was possible to have 250 Kohanim Gedolim, each one alternating to serve in the mishkan.
But the leadership of Moshe was different. Moshe was the one chosen by Hashem to serve as the intermediary between Him and the Jewish nation through whom every single aspect of a Jew is channeled. Such an all-encompassing position, filled exclusively by Moshe and no one else, was something they didn’t want to accept.
Energizing Every Area
This idea is connected to Gimmel Tammuz, which coincides this year with Shabbos Parshas Korach.
The Alter Rebbe explains in Tanya (Chapter 2) that the head is the source of life and energy of the entire body, including and extending even until the toenails. The same is true for the leaders of the Jewish nation, who are called roshei alfei yisrael—the “heads” of Yisrael. Every single Jew of the generation, from the greatest to the most lowly, must receive his life and energy from the head.
This idea is not limited to one specific area; every aspect of a Jew must come through the Moshe of the generation. He is the one who arouses and inspires every Jew of the generation in all matters of Yiddishkeit. Furthermore, the effect of a tzadik is not only in spiritual matters but in actual physical life as well.
I recall a story that took place in the summer of 5710 (1950). A certain woman was completely unconscious. The Rebbe instructed that the name of the Frierdiker Rebbe should be whispered in her ear. He explained this by quoting a segulah brought down in sefarim that one can revive someone who fainted by whispering his name in his ear. Even though there is a deficiency in the revealed aspect of the soul that gives life to the body, calling his name will reach and arouse the soul’s essence and cause him to awaken.
The Rebbe continued that at times a person is so unresponsive that saying his name will not succeed in arousing the soul’s essence. In such a case, one must go deeper—to the neshamah kelalis, the neshamah of the leader of the generation who is the source of every individual neshamah.
This story illustrates how even the physical aspects of a Jew are channeled through the leader of the generation. The woman’s issue was not spiritual or Torah-related; she was physically ill, yet even this aspect of her life was resolved through the nassi hador.
Three Ways to Connect
Every person, whether a full-fledged Lubavitcher chossid or someone who has merely heard about the Rebbe’s greatness, understands that Gimmel Tammuz is a day to increase one’s connection with the Rebbe, and through him, to strengthen and reveal his connection with Hashem.
How can one increase his connection with the Rebbe?
Chazal tell us that tzadikim domim le’bor’am—tzadikim are similar to Hashem. There are three ways to connect to Hashem: through Torah, avodah, and gemilus chassadim, and there is a unique advantage in each one.
Avodah refers to tefilah. On one hand, when a person davens, he is thinking about himself and asking Hashem for his personal needs. Yet, this connects him to Hashem (as we know that one of the translations of tefilah is connection), and in a certain way—even more than through Torah and mitzvos. When a person davens to Hashem, he expresses a belief in Hashem that comes from him. He knows that there is a supernal Being to Whom he can turn when something is bothering him, and he genuinely believes that He will listen to his request and hopefully fulfill it. This is a connection to Hashem that comes from and affects the person himself.
Gemilus chassadim refers to the fulfillment of mitzvos. When a person disregards his personal comfort and fulfills a mitzvah, he connects to the Divine Will. However, this connection is limited to the lowest faculty of a person—the power of action. When one studies Torah, he connects his intellect to the Divine Wisdom (as explained in Tanya Chapter 5).
Connecting to the Rebbe
These three methods of connection apply to our connection with the Rebbe as well.
First of all, a person must know that there is someone to whom he can turn whenever he has a problem. Just as he turned to the Rebbe before Gimmel Tammuz and time and again the Rebbe davened on his behalf and his requests were fulfilled, he can do the same today. A person must genuinely believe that the Rebbe is listening to him; he is interested in his situation and davens for him. He is pained by his predicament, and he receives pleasure when he returns with the good news that things turned out positively.
A second method of connection with the Rebbe is through learning his Torah, be it his maamorim, sichos, igros, and so on. These seforim should not remain on the shelf; a person should set aside time each day—even for just five minutes—to study the Rebbe’s Torah.
The third way to connect to the Rebbe is by fulfilling his directives, such as taking part in the ten mivtzo’im and learning Chitas and Rambam. Even one who already studies Rambam can utilize the day to strengthen his commitment to this directive and take care to study the shiur of each day in its proper time.
Through strengthening our connection with the Rebbe, the “one who stands between you and Hashem” (as the possuk says regarding Moshe), we will hasten the time when the Rebbe will be revealed to us physically as before.