There is little love lost for Korach. Sure, there'd always been kvetchers and complainers, people or groups who, for one reason or another were dissatisfied with the established order and were not shy in coming forth and airing their views. But for the first time since the Exodus, opposition to Moses had crystallized around a distinct individual. For the first time, the rebels and plotters had a figurehead behind whom they could coalesce.

Korach died a horrible death, his followers were exterminated and the rebellion was crushed, leaving scholars and writers for the ensuing three millennia with nothing to do other than join the hit parade and compete in character-assassinating Korach.

Who could possibly be willing to speak up in his defense?You know what I mean, just Google the name and in 0.13 of a second you too will agree that it's difficult to find anything positive about the man among the 306,000 references out there on the web.

Korach was greedy, Korach was jealous. Korach was underhanded, Korach was megalomaniac. Korach was a rabble-rouser intent on world domination. Wow, talk about a victim of bad press! How about Korach the seeker of spiritual enlightenment?

Impossible you say; this was a man who attacked Moses, and by extension challenged G‑d. Who could possibly be willing to speak up in his defense?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Bringing out the Best in People

In an inspirational essay, the Rebbe posits that though we may question Korach's methods and means, there is still much to be admired about his purpose. After all, what did Korach demand but an opportunity to try out for the position of High Priest?

Put baldly this does indeed look like an instance of naked ambition, but from a more subtle perspective, couldn't this just be an example of a man trying to connect with G‑d? Sure, he lost the plot when he allowed his understandable desire for spirituality to lead him into rebelling against Moses, but there was nothing wrong with his ambition per se. It should be the goal of every Jew to serve G‑d in the finest and most meaningful way possible. If only we all had the desire to be a High Priest.

It takes no great brains or courage to join in kicking a man when he is downFor me, this theory encapsulates the Rebbe's unique perspective on humans and humanity. It takes no great brains or courage to join in kicking a man when he is down, but there aren't many out there actively seeking the opportunity to help people rise again.

From the Rebbe's viewpoint no one is truly evil or irredeemable. No one is beyond the pale without positive characteristics. The trick is to focus on that which is valuable about a person, building them up in their own eyes, and in the estimation of others, and using that as a platform from which to construct a new world order.

The Rebbe sent his followers out onto the streets to help educate and rescue our lost brothers and sisters not out a sense of duty, of pity, or compassion, but because he honestly treasured every single Jew and the unique facet of brilliance that every single one of us brings to our national jewel.