This week was regrettably a busy, action packed week in Israel. With tensions high, over 75 rockets from Gaza were fired into Israel, leading to many Israeli and Palestinian deaths. On Wednesday, Hamas called for a cease-fire. The hope for change and the reward of a dedication to peace is emphasized in this week’s Torah portion.
In the Torah portion of Korach, Korach brings a rebellion against Moses, the esteemed leader of the Jewish people. Korach gathers 250 men together and confronts Moses and Aaron about their leadership roles in the nation. This rebellion is not pleasing in G-d’s eyes. As punishment to Korach, he and his family are swallowed by the earth. Only the people that repented and proved themselves seekers peace were saved from this tragedy.
The rest of the nation complained to Moses and Aaron, holding them responsible for the death of these people. God, in response, plagued the nation. Aaron brought incense to the center of the nation so that they could atone and when they did, the plague ceased.
The plague had claimed a total of 14,700 people. God instructs each tribe to take a staff and inscribe the leaders' name on it and whomever’s staff blossomed would be a sign that he is God’s choice. Aaron’s staff blossomed which confirmed that Aaron was God’s choice as the High Priest.
The privileges of being a priest are laid out next in the Torah portion, followed by God informing Aaron, his offspring, and the Levites, that they will not have a portion in the land of Canaan.
This week’s Torah portion describes how the people who were seekers of peace were saved from being swallowed by the earth. With so much violence currently going on between Israel and Palestinians, we can only hope that people will seek peace. Peace may only come as the result of recognizing and understanding the other, but is necessary to end the suffering of so many and stop any further casualties.