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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach




Integrating Torah into one’s life through reflection and conversation can be an incredibly fun and engaging experience. It’s a journey of discovery, where ancient wisdom and timeless teachings come to life in our daily experiences. Through reflection, we have the opportunity to dive deep into the rich tapestry of Torah, extracting profound insights and lessons that resonate with our modern lives. The joy lies in the ‘aha’ moments, those instances when a Torah verse or story suddenly connects with our personal challenges, aspirations, and values. And when we engage in conversations about Torah with others, it becomes an interactive exploration, where diverse perspectives and interpretations enhance our understanding. These dialogues often spark excitement and intellectual curiosity, making the learning process both enjoyable and fulfilling. Torah becomes a vibrant and dynamic part of our lives, offering not just guidance but also a source of endless fascination, connection, and growth.

NOTE: Don’t feel obligated to go through every source or answer all the questions—unless you want to. Even one source, or one question will give you plenty of material for discussion and meditation. Enjoy this!

Some thoughts from the parsah

Korach, along with Dathan, Abiram, and On, challenged Moses and Aaron’s leadership, claiming all the congregation was holy and questioning their authority (Numbers 16:1-3). Korach’s rebellion, though appearing to advocate for equality, rejected the essential giver-receiver dynamic in creation and Torah.

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Ba’al HaSulam) explained that the Jewish people are described as “a nation of priests” (Exodus 19:6), symbolizing a collective dedication to serving G-d through giving, which almost sounds like Korach’s idea, yet the distinction is total. Korach denied the need for a singular High Priest and Divinely-appointed leaders, a rejection of authority which could go beyond a collective ideal and lead to questioning the necessity of G-d Himself.

The Torah contrasts Korach’s view with the belief that G-d is continuously involved in creation. Figures like Abraham exemplify true holiness through giving and kindness, while Korach’s attempt to eliminate this role revealed his self-serving motives. Power is an important feature of G-dly leadership, and when G-d has decided who wields it, the fact that it is unevenly distributed is not a problem. Korach, however, elevated power to a value far beyond its importance, and this was his downfall.

True fulfillment comes from having a teacher who helps us realize our potential and emulate the Creator through giving. May we be blessed to merit this understanding.

Now, reflect upon the following questions:

1. What is the difference between questioning authority constructively and rebelling against it destructively?
   – Reflect on personal experiences where questioning authority led to positive change or negative outcomes.

2. How does the concept of giving and receiving apply in your relationships with family and friends?
   – Consider how you can become more of a giver in your daily interactions and the impact this might have.

3. What roles or positions of authority in your life challenge your sense of equality and holiness?
   – Discuss how you reconcile respect for authority with the belief in the intrinsic holiness of all individuals.

4. In what ways can you emulate the qualities of a tzaddik (righteous person) in your community?
   – Think about actions and behaviors that reflect being a conduit of kindness and spiritual guidance.

5. How do you understand the continuous involvement of G-d in your life, as opposed to a more distant, hands-off approach?
   – Explore moments where you felt divine intervention or presence and how that shapes your faith and actions.

Shabbat Shalom!

By Rabbi Tani Burton


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