Korach: Looking Through Their Eyes

This past Shabbos we had some friends over whom we haven't seen in a good nine months.  So, on Shabbos night, there was a lot more conversation than usual as we were all trying to catch up with each other.  Out of nowhere, my 10-month-old daughter started "yelling," "ahhhhhhhhhhh….ahhhhhhhhhhh….ahhhhhhhhhhhh."  And we couldn't figure out what she was trying to "say."  Then she started to hit the table.  My wife had an idea and said, "You haven't sung any songs yet ... try singing something."  So, we started singing, and immediately, a smiled appeared on her face.  It appears she enjoys the zemiros every Shabbos.

In this week's parsha, Korach takes the stage and makes a failed coup d'etat.  One has to question exactly what was Korach thinking?  He wasn't going against some politician, he was going against Moshe himself.

The Medrash answers that Korach had prophecy regarding one of his descendants, Shmuel, who would eventually be one of the leaders of the Jewish nation.  With this prophecy in hand, Korach was convinced that he, himself was destined to survive and flourish.

So, what went wrong here?  Korach received a prophecy.  A real one as well.  He wasn't making anything up!

The Gemara (Yevamos 49b) explains that the difference between Moshe and all other prophets is that Moshe saw things "through a clear glass," while the others did not.  Being, prophecy was given to certain prophets, but it was a bit hazy, and it was through the greatness of each prophet that he was to understand and deliver it to the nation.  So, with such prophecies there was a certain element of … personalization.  The prophecy was entirely true, of course, but it had to go through a deciphering process before being delivered.  This was not like the prophecies of Moshe, who saw everything clearly.  For him, prophecy was the literal word of Hashem.

That being, Korach took his prophecy and deciphered it according to his desires.  Yes, the prophecy was true, he was to have a descendant named Shmuel.  However, he failed to realize that while one of his children, in the end, will do tshuvah, he himself will ultimately perish.

I could not help but think of a recent conversation I had with my wife.  Through some article that she had to edit for somebody, she learned of this concept called "the language of love," being that different people have different ways of feeling loved.  For some, being touched is a sign.  For others, hearing somebody say good things about them.  Some need quality time to feel loved, and others feel loved when they receive gifts or people do things for them.  It's an interesting concept and she had the older kids take the test.  And each one's results actually made sense for their personality.

One of my children, for example, scored high on the "acts of kindness and service," being they feel loved when people do something for them.  Incidentally, that child is often asking if somebody can make them this or that or do something for them.  With this in hand, my wife finds it much easier to accommodate them and to do things, even before they ask.

Before seeing this, we would write this behavior off as selfishness, laziness, or self-centeredness, which this child really isn't.  But for my wife and I, who are not like this, this is how WE viewed things, and being that we would view it as such, would be less likely to do it.  Let THEM do it, so as not to get spoiled.  But now, having a better understanding that for this particular child, this is considered a sign of love, we find it far easier to do things for them.  After all, they need to feel loved, and this is how it's expressed for them.

So, we see that when dealing with others, especially regarding one's children, one must learn to learn to see things, not through our lens, but through theirs.  Obviously, such a thing is not easy, but by attempting to understand how others "tick," one can come to better appreciate them and accommodate them, without your own personal bias getting in the way.

Have a wonderful Shabbos!