Korach was a rebel. He was the prime movement behind a effort to depose Moses and Aaron. For his efforts he was severely punished; he and his followers were lost in a sudden earthquake that literally buried them alive.

Though many sinned before him and many sinned after him, Korach was the only one to be punished in this manner. Korach was not even the first to turn against G‑d in the desert, why did Korach alone deserve this ignominious death?

A Community Affected

Korach was not only held responsible for his own sin but for the affect it had on the nation. His rebellion divided the nation. His disparaging remarks about Moses stimulated questions about Moses' legitimacy. It was the first fissure in the confidence that Moses had been able to inspire.

For the Jewish community, no task is impossible as long as we remain united; when we drift apart our strength is weakened. For this reason Korach was so severely - and uniquely - punished. He introduced the community to conflict and deprived it of its most precious possession: its unity.