web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Danger Of Machlokes

The-Shmuz

Korach, carried away by jealousy, led two hundred fifty men in rebellion against Moshe and Hashem. These were all great individuals; they had all witnessed Moshe going up to Har Sinai to accept the Torah, and they all heard Hashem speak through Moshe. Yet they willfully and intentionally set out to depose Moshe – to prove he had veered off from that which Hashem had told him. Moshe, recognizing the danger they were placing themselves in, did everything he could to get them to back down. Nevertheless, they remained steadfast in their revolt, and marched to their destruction. In the end the entire congregation – man, woman, infant and child – died a terrible death.

Rashi explains that this teaches us how terrible machlokes (conflict) is. “Beis din (a Jewish court) doesn’t punish a person until he is thirteen years old. The heavenly tribunal doesn’t punish a person until he is twenty years old. Yet here, even the nursing infants were punished.”

This Rashi is very difficult to understand: Clearly, he is saying that the nursing babies were punished. Yet an infant doesn’t have premeditated thought. The infants were completely unaware of what was going on. How could they be punished?

The answer to this question requires a deeper understanding of some of the systems that Hashem uses to run the world.

Immutable Laws of Nature

Hashem created this world with immutable laws of nature. Gases tend to expand. Heat tends to rise. Heavy objects tend to fall. These laws are the bedrock foundation of this world that govern all of physicality throughout the cosmos. These laws, however, are neither cruel nor kind. For instance, if a baby is left unattended on a changing table and falls, he will be injured. The result may be tragic, but we wouldn’t accuse gravity of being heartless. Gravity doesn’t judge and it doesn’t decide. It is a fact – a part of reality.

Just as Hashem created laws that govern the physical world, so too He created laws that govern the spiritual world. These as well are specific and exact, and have real consequences.

One of these laws is din (justice). The basic tenet of din is accountability – simple and unadulterated. You are responsible for what you do.

However, while din loosely translates as justice, it is quite different from man’s understanding of what is just and proper. Din is very exacting. It makes no room for mitigating circumstances. If something comes about through an action of yours, you are responsible whether you intended it or not or whether you recognized the consequences or not.

Din is just. Din is appropriate. If you are to be rewarded for what you have done right, you should be punished for what you have done wrong. Before Hashem created the world, He considered (if it could be) creating it with the middas ha’din (strict justice) in operation. However, if this system were in place, no man could survive.

Mesillos Yesharim (Perek 4) explains that if din were in force, any sin a man might commit would bring about one result – his immediate death. The Kings of Kings said not to do X, and you violated His wishes! The consequence of any transgression would be death, immediate and irrevocable. And so the world couldn’t exist.

Therefore, Hashem created the world using the middas harachamim – the system of mercy. Rachamim introduces mitigating factors into the equation – you have to take into account who the person is, where he is coming from, what he was going through at the time, etc. When taken in context, what the person did isn’t as egregious. Keeping in mind everything else that was going on at the time, what he did is more understandable. And now a person is given leeway. He’s given time to understand the gravity of his actions, and the concept of teshuvah is possible.

The result is that the operating principle in our world is compassion. Justice, however, cannot be ignored. So both rachamim and din are in existence, and both have their say. The balance between them, however, can change. Envision a slide rule, with din on one side and rachamim on the other. The slide can be moved so that more of one or the other is introduced into the equation. If an average day might be 50/50, there are some days with more mercy, like Yom Kippur, which is a day of forgiveness. The person doesn’t change, and the act doesn’t change, but the system of judgment changes, and that change makes all the difference in the world.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Danger Of Machlokes

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
investing-in-gold_4548807_lrg
What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

800px-Gustav_Jaeger_Bileam_Engel

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do.

Shmuz-logo-NEW

It is the right amount of the right middah in the right time that is the key to perfection. Each middah has its place, time, and correct measure.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.” – Vayikra 19:17   When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words “and do not carry a sin because of him.” The Targum translates […]

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

And the farmer can’t help but feel a sense of pride. After all, it was his wisdom that led him to choose corn, not like that fool of a guy next door who planted wheat.

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-danger-of-machlokes/2013/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: