The portion of Korach tells us about Korach’s rebellion. Seder Olam1 proves that the rebellion followed the story of the spies. Why did he wait until after the incident with the spies?

Korach's complaint was about the leadership of Moses and the appointment of Aaron as Kohen Gadol (High Priest). He asked, "The entire congregation - all of them - are holy... Why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G‑d?"2

Aaron was appointed Kohen Gadol in the month of Nissan, four and a half months earlier, whereas the sin of the spies was on Tisha B'Av, the ninth of Av. If so, why did he wait until after the incident of the spies? We must conclude that the rebellion was somehow triggered by the incident of the spies. How?

The spies wanted to stay in the desert, where they could live a completely spiritual life and bask in the light of Torah. Moshe told them that the main thing is the action, the performance of mitzvot done with the physical, infusing it with holiness, making the physical world into a home for Hashem, which can only be done by entering the land and engaging in the physical.3

Now Korach's complaint begins to make some sense. Moshe was a king over the nation,4 which is a position so lofty that there is no relative relationship between him and the people. It is not like the relationship between a teacher and student, with one who is more knowledgeable and the other less so. A king is “head and shoulders above the people,” beyond any relative status. And at the same time, the king is connected to every single person in his kingdom.

If action is the main thing, then on that plane all Jewish people are equal, as a simple person wears the same Tefillin as Moses, and the same is true about all mitzvot. So, "Why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G‑d?"

When it comes to Torah study, everyone is different. One person understands more than the other, each according to his or her ability. Obviously, Moses, who received the Torah directly from G‑d, was beyond and above all of the Jewish people in his Torah knowledge, because not only did he get it before everyone else, but he understood it in a deeper way. So it is understandable that we need him to raise us to the highest levels of Torah, something we cannot achieve on our own.

However, when it comes to mitzvot, actions, there are no levels; everyone is equal. So, again, "Why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G‑d?" Why do we need to rely on Moshe?

Korach was making a big mistake. Mitzvot are commonly referred to as maasim tovim, “good actions.” They should simply be called actions. Why good actions?5 Because they should shine, and be full of meaning, done with the right intentions. Action alone is still a mitzvah,6 but doesn't shine. The mitzvot done in a rote, dry way doesn’t affect the physical and make it into a home for G‑d, until a time when he or she does teshuvah (repentance), and those mitzvot then begin to shine.

That's why we need Moses for mitzvot as well, because the Torah-part of the mitzvah makes it shine, and for that we need Moses.

The same is true for every generation. In every generation, there is a Moses. In order to reach the highest levels of Torah and mitzvot, we need to connect to the Moses of our generation.7

Both the spies and Korach were making a mistake, and some of us make the same mistakes. Some of us think like the spies, that in Judaism the main thing is the spirituality, the heart,8 the neshamah (soul). Others think like Korach, that the main thing is the performance of mitzvot, the action, the deed, even if it lacks feeling and meaning.

But G‑d wants both. Of course, the action is the main thing, but the actions have to shine so that we are fulfilling His desire, to make a G‑dly home in this physical world. And when we connect to the Moses of our generation, we are able to make a dwelling place for G‑d here in the physical world, and able to do so at the highest level.

This is also true about marriage as well. Love is not enough to make a good marriage. And neither is providing, taking care of the family and the home. There has to be both, the action and the love. Love means knowing each other deeply,by talking to each other and by listening.

This week is the week of Gimmel Tammuz, when the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, was freed from Russian prison. He was incarcerated because of the work he was doing to save Judaism in the Soviet Union. It is the Yahrtzeit of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Both were the Moses of their generation. They both took strides to ensure the welfare of the Jewish people. They did their utmost to help Jews carry out the mitzvot, and at the same time, gave us the deepest teachings of the Torah.

Through connecting with the Moses of our generation, we take our Torah and mitzvot to the highest level possible and make a home for G‑d in the physical world. And when we complete the home, Moshiach will come and G‑d will dwell openly in this physical world, the home that we made for Him. May Moshiach come soon. The time has come.9