The Torah portion of Korach describes how Korach led a band of 250 men to rebel against Moshe and Aharon. Our Sages relate1 that in the end, the rebels admitted their error with the statement: “Moshe is truth and his Torah is truth.”

Although Korach and his band rebelled against Moshe as well, the simple context of the verses seems to indicate that their main quarrel was with Aharon. Thus, when Korach demanded to know “why are you setting yourselves above G‑d’s congregation,”2 Moshe responded that the rebels, together with Aharon, should offer incense, and “the one chosen by G‑d is the holy one” — the rightful High Priest.

Since the main target of their complaint was Aharon, their admission of wrongdoing should have consisted of the simple statement: “Moshe’s Torah [wherein it states that Aharon is to be the High Priest] is truth.” Why did they also declare: “Moshe is truth”?

And there is something even more perplexing about Korach’s revolt: The Gemara states3 that “whoever prolongs a quarrel transgresses a prohibitive command, for the verse states:4 ‘They shall not be like Korach and his band.’ ”

How can it be said that whoever prolongs a quarrel — no matter how picayune — is likened to Korach and his band, when the rebels’ quarrel consisted of challenging the very authenticity of Moshe’s Torah?

We must conclude that their primary sin lay in the fact that they quarreled at all. This is in keeping with the comment of the Rabbis5 that Moshe feared the rebellion itself less than he feared the strife it entailed. “Moshe heard this, and threw himself on his face”6 — “Because of the quarrel.”7 Indeed, Korach’s very name, a description of his personality,8 is related to the verb karchah , meaning uprooting, separation and division.9

Concerning Torah, the verse states:10 “Its ways are pleasant ways, and all its paths are peace.” Moreover, Torah was given to us in order to “bring about peace in the world.”11 Thus quarrel and strife are the very antithesis of Torah and Moshe,12 inasmuch as the Torah is called after his name.

Although the phrase “A lover of peace and a pursuer of peace,”13 is used with regard to Aharon (this being the deeper reason for Korach’s quarrel with Aharon), the main thrust of Korach’s quarrel was with Moshe, for the fact that Aharon was the High Priest stemmed from the fact that it was so ordained in the Torah given through Moshe.

Specifically, the essential aspect of peace — Torah — is the attribute of Moshe. Hence, Moshe was removed from mundane matters. Thus, when the Jewish people demanded meat, he said: “How can I relate to meat,” and it was provided through the 70 elders.14 It was for this reason that actual peace in the world was brought about through Aharon, who descended to all creatures and elevated them to Torah.

Thus, quarrel and strife themselves — “Korach,” from the root karchah — are in stark opposition to Moshe, though the actual deeds of quarrel and strife are in opposition to Aharon, the individual who brings about peace.

Clearly then, although Korach and his band targeted Aharon, at the heart of the dispute was their opposition to the very concept of peace — the quality of Torah and Moshe.

This was why their admission of wrongdoing consisted of the statement: “Moshe is truth and his Torah is truth.”

In order to be sure that one’s penance is proper and that one will not commit the same sin again, it is necessary to remove the very cause and root of the sin.

Since the quarrel with Aharon was a result of the rebels’ deeper quarrel with Moshe and his Torah, it followed that their admission of error had to include the phrase: “Moshe is truth” as well as “and his Torah is truth.”

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, pp. 103-107