web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

The Nation’s Guardians Do Not Sleep

Winiarz-062014

There’s an old Jewish joke that says that if you want the Jewish People to remember your name for all time, you either have to become someone great or start up with someone great. In this week’s parsha we find a spectacular example of some people who chose the latter option. Korach, joined by Dasan, Aviram, and On ben Peles, led a rebellion against Moshe Rabbeinu in an attempt to overturn many of the leadership appointments. In a miraculous and dramatic defense of His prophet, Hashem caused the ground to open up and swallow the entire cabal, thus conclusively ending the insurrection.

Although Korach and his fellow conspirators have indeed gone down for all time as notorious antagonists, there are two more characters in the narrative whose involvement is less known but no less integral. They are not mentioned in the Written Torah, but the Talmud in Sanhedrin (109b) records the part that the wives of Korach and On ben Peles played in this sorry tale.

Why is the name of On ben Peles only mentioned in the beginning of the narrative, but not later on? This is because On left the rebellion shortly after it began. Why did he leave? Because“his wife said to him, ‘What will you gain from joining this coup? If Korach wins you will be subordinate [to him] and if Moshe wins you will be subordinate [to him]. You gain nothing from joining.’ He replied, ‘But what can I do? I swore.[It is too late to back out now.] She replied, ‘I will save you. I know that the entire congregation is holy’ [and would never look at a woman whose hair is not properly covered]. So she sat at the door of her tent with her hair undone. When they approached his tent to get him, they turned away so as not to gaze upon her. This is what the verse in Mishlei (14:1) refers to – ‘Each wise woman builds her house’ – for this is the wife of On ben Peles.

The Talmud then proceeds to describe the part Korach’s wife played. “She said to him, ‘Look what Moshe has done. He appointed himself as the king, his brother [Aharon] as the High Priest, and his nephews as the assistant priests. All tithes must be brought to his brother’s family as terumah, and even the tithes that you [Korach – as a Levite] receive must have a portion taken from them to be given to the Kohen. This is what the second half of the verse in Mishlei (14:1) refers to when it says, but a foolish woman destroys [her house] with her hands – for this is the wife of Korach.

While this Talmudic passage definitely adds a fascinating dimension to the story, there is one thing about it that seems odd. What I’m referring to is the interpretation of the pasuk in Mishlei. It seems that when the Torah says, “Each wise woman builds her house but a foolish woman destroys [her house] with her hands,” the prime examples that come to the Sages’ mind are the wives of Korach and On. Why is this so? While granted these women do match the description, can we not find any better examples of the wise or destructive woman? Why not choose Devorah HaNaviah who led Bnei Yisraelwith wisdom for many years? Is she not a wise woman who builds her house? Or why not pick Rachel and Leah, who, according to Megillas Rus, “built the house of Israel”? And is the Torah short on destructive women who destroy their house with their hands? What about Delilah, wife of Shimshon, who quite literally caused a house to be destroyed and essentially killed her husband within? In what way are the wives of Korach and On – whose existence is not even mentioned in the Written Torah – the prototype women?

About the Author: Shaya Winiarz is a student of the Rabbinical Seminary of America (a.k.a. Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim). He enjoys public speaking and writing Torah articles and essays. He can be reached for speaking engagements or freelance writing at shayawiniarz@gmail.com.


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 Nation’s Guardians Do Not Sleep”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
You are looking at an "armed insurgent" and not a terrorist, according to the White House.
Obama Wins War on Terror By Saying It Doesn’t Exist [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

More Articles from Shaya Winiarz
Winiarz-111414

We must understand the power and impact of our actions.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When it comes to passing on Jewishness we must follow the mother – for it is she who ensures it.

One who loves can buy a factory-made knick-knack for his partner, but a personal hand-made gift is infinitely more precious.

How can the Torah command you to love somebody?

Marror is the reliving of the bitter enslavement and matzah is the under-eighteen-minutes redemption.

What is the relationship between Purim and Pisces? In what way is Purim related to fish?

Granted, Hashem miraculously gave Betzalel unimaginable wisdom, but shouldn’t life-experience count for something?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-nations-guardians-do-not-sleep/2014/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: