The Empty Space

Tamuz 23, 5782
July 22, 2022
Candlelighting Time 8:13 PM

            During the census, the Torah reminds us of the unfortunate episode of Korach and his henchmen and their mutiny against Moshe, Aron and even Hashem as they countered their appointment as King and High Priest. However, it is also mentioned that the sons of Korach repented and a small area was carved out for them where they stood and declared that Moshe is the ultimate truth and so is his Torah. Why is there a need to refer to them again? Seemingly, it does not mitigate the horrendous assault of Korach against Moshe nor does it alleviate the tremendous consequences that occurred in its aftermath!

            Netziv makes a tremendous comment to perhaps explain the above. Korach’s children recognized that their father was not of the same ilk as the 250 Rabbinical heads that were swept into this fight. They actually believed that their involvement with the burning of the incense would serve to bring them closer to Hashem. However, Korach truly hated Moshe because of his jealousy and that ruined him despite the incredible potential that he possessed. His sons were disciples of Moshe and they realized the truth that Moshe was indeed the leader of the nation and they were able to ignore their father’s falsehoods and focus on the reality of the situation.

            This is a great lesson displaying the purity of Torah when we imbibe it properly and it becomes part of our mode of thinking. When we absorb the Torah to the extent that it becomes part and parcel of our very essence, then we can navigate life’s difficulties appropriately because we can plumb the very depths of any issue utilizing the prism of Torah as our guide. And this actually impacts the census that the parsha deals with. This census was unlike the census that we are accustomed to in the United States where the numbers are of governmental importance for their statistics. Rather, as Rashi points out, after we suffered a plague on account of our involvement with the daughters of Moav, Hashem ordered a census to demonstrate His love for the people. That love is, of course, based upon our relationship with Hashem which is rooted in Torah. And this remarkable incident with the sons of Korach clearly reveals the significance of Torah in our lives.

            Ksav Sofer adds a caveat that is terrifying to consider. If one leads others astray, then his repentance is not accepted because those who followed him will suffer punishment because of him but he will escape that consequence. Hence, the sons of Korach certainly were highly respected and until they changed their conduct, others followed their lead. Therefore, although they were not castigated for their initial wrongdoing, but on the other hand, they could not enjoy their final resting place due to the many others that had sinned because of their false leadership. Therefore, a place above Gehinnon was afforded them but they could not enter into Gan Eden. With all due admiration for them, still we are reminded that when we conduct ourselves in a way that is not admirable by the Torah, even when we may repent, how many other lives did we impact negatively? Certainly, we must be very careful that others should not derive from us any impropriety and apply it to their lives!


Although the tribe of Dan only had one son, but the multitudes that came forth outnumbered the tribe of Binyomin that initially had ten sons. When Hashem’s blessing is conveyed nothing can block its fulfillment.                                                                                                                     CHOFETZ CHAIM