Two-Line Torah: Korach 5777–(Don’t) Follow the leader



June 15, 2017

This week’s Torah portion, Korach, teaches us a lot about leadership and its effects.  Korach, Dathan, Abriam, and On, with a group of 250 followers, question Moses’ authority and power.  Korach is bothered that Moses was bestowed with such an important role in the Israelite community while Moses was, in Korach’s view, undeserving.  G-d saw how Korach wanted to undermine Moses and told Moses to tell Korach and all of his followers to gather in one place so that G-d could destroy them.  Moses relayed the message to the people, and just as he finished, the earth opened up and swallowed all of the people and their possessions.

There were many people at fault in this portion.  The 250 followers may seem innocent, but they are not; blindly following Korach without questioning anything.  They didn’t ask questions.  No one stopped to think if what they were doing was such a good idea.  Despite the people’s past experiences with poor leaders, they did not learn anything.  It appears that history really does repeat itself.  Korach had no qualifications to lead the Israelites or any real reason to oppose Moses.  Maybe he was jealous of the power, or did not like something Moses did.  Nevertheless, he gathered himself 250 followers who were dedicated to him.  But why did these people go along with him?  It is probably because Korach was a good public speaker.  He told the people what they wanted to hear in order for them to go along with him.

Everyone got punished in the end because everyone was at fault.  Trying to “dethrone” Moses was not such a good idea.  And while Korach, Dathan, Abriam, and On were the main culprits, the 250 others were just as guilty.  They did not stand up against these men and instead blindly followed despite the fact that what they were doing was wrong.  People who sit around and don’t do anything to fight evil are just as culpable.  As college students, we are the future leaders and followers of those leaders.  We can learn from this portion that we need to be good leaders, but also well-informed followers.  Make sure you always stay informed and use that information to make wise decisions, you do not want to get swallowed up by the earth!

Amanda Eastman and Marissa Levitt are students at the University of Hartford.