Tidbits of Torah

  Striving for Holiness – One Day at a Time!                 

Shabbat Parashat Korach

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 

June 23, 2017- 30 Sivan 5777
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The final section of last week’s parsha dealt with the mitzvah of tzitzit.  We are to place four fringes on a four-cornered garment and by so doing we create a tallit.  We don the tallit with a blessing every morning without exception – weekdays, shabbatot, and holidays.  The fringes of the tallit remind us that the world is imperfect.  There are always “loose ends.”  But, the fringes also remind us that with the help of God and of Torah and mitzvoth, we have a precious spiritual heritage – a Jewish road map – to help us imbue our lives with as much holiness and purpose as possible.

In this week’s Torah portion we read of Korach’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron.

What did Korach do wrong?

For one thing he said that we are all holy!  True, we are all created in God’s image and the Torah says (Leviticus 19:2): Kedoshim t’hi’yu – You shall be holy (in the future).  But, only God is truly holy in the present.

When the Torah says: Kedoshim t’hi’yu, we, human beings, are being invited to continually strive for holiness.  When we claim to be holy in the present, as Korach claimed on his own behalf and on behalf of all of the Israelites, we miss the point of Torah.  We are drawn into a dangerous mindset which suggests to us that we have somehow achieved holiness – that we can rest on our laurels.   By telling us the story of Korach, the Torah reminds us that it is our human responsibility to continuing to strive to make the most of our own potential and of the potential of the world around us.  Korach was wrong.  We have not fulfilled our potential for holiness.  Then, and now, we still have a long way to go.  One of the most significant teachings of Torah is that striving for holiness is the Jewish way of keeping us on track!

This Shabbat we will celebrate Rosh Chodesh Tammuz.  May this new Jewish month of Tammuz be a month of peace, of blessing, of healing and of joy!  May we stay on track and continue to strive for increased holiness and purpose in life.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Gilah Dror