Thought of the Week: Korach - 5780
THE ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT CANDIDATE
The great British-Czech philosopher Ernest Gellner noted that the best definition of government is "...an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself.” Anti-establishment is a term used often in this day and age. From Italy to the U.S.A., it is clearly the spirit of the times. When we hear the words of Korach to Moshe: "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and Hashem is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above Hashem’s assembly?" we do in some ways relate to them. Anyone uttering the words, “The whole community is holy" touches a soft spot in our minds and souls, and we in some ways identify with this anti-establishment candidate. However, due to the fact that his words were directed at an unblemished leader - Moshe, one who did not take an iota of time or goods for himself - the attacker and leader of this rebellion is the flawed one. Although Korach goes down in history as a tarnished individual, who makes claims for the welfare of the masses when in reality he is thinking only about himself, his descendant the Navi Shmuel presents a similar view when the children of Israel request a king. Shmuel warned the people that a king - and royalty - can become a very dangerous institution, and a threat to the freedom of man and his ability to reach his full potential. Shmuel indeed reintroduced the need of some measure of anti-establishment for us to allow our undeveloped self to reach its full potential.