Dear Friend,

When I was fourteen and my brother was turning thirteen, I volunteered to help write his bar mitzvah speech. And where did I turn for the most spiritual, accessible content?, of course.

The Torah portion of Korach seemed like a straightforward story: Korach, the arrogant, power-hungry rebel, demands that he become the high priest. G‑d puts an end to this rebellion, and Korach and his men are swallowed up by the earth. There are clear good guys (Moses and Aaron) and bad guys (Korach and co.).

But when perusing, I found several talks by the Rebbe that turned this story on its head. He suggested that on a deeper level we could view Korach as a passionate man who yearned for the Redemption, a time when all Jews would be elevated to the level of priests and would achieve a closer connection to G‑d. But Korach’s error was in his timing—as a people, we were not ready for Moshiach to come. And only through devotion to the Torah as taught by Moses can we achieve that level of oneness with G‑d in the future Redemption.

The Rebbe’s insight into Korach’s plight embodies the chassidic perspective—a perspective that inspired me then and continues to inspire me today.

Sasha Friedman,
on behalf of the Editorial Team