Korach: It's Up in the Air

My wife and I took our Annual “Do I Know You?” Vacation.  It consists of renting a car for 2 days and travelling around the North, while leaving our 13 ½ -year-old in charge of the house (we did come home at 11 p.m. to sleep). The unofficial rule is: No talking about the children (unless positively) or about other negative things.  We’re on vacation, darn it, and we’re going to enjoy it!  


The first day was dedicated to the Lower Galilee, where we went to the tombs of Chabakuk HaNavi (the Prophet) and Rabbeinu B’chaya.  After, we travelled to Tiveria, where we visited Rochel, the wife of Rebbe Akivah, Rambam, Rebbe Yochanan Ben Zakkai, and Rebbe Eliezer Ben Horkonos.  After a quick lunch, we travelled to the Arbel cliffs to visit a shul that was destroyed nearly 2000 years ago where, lo and behold, there was a bagpiper standing in the empty parking lot!  An Israeli bagpiper!  We were REALLY excited!  What are the chances?!?  I jumped out of the car and yelled “Ata Yodeya ‘Scotland the Brave’?”  After wondering why this crazy Ultra-Orthodox guy is asking such a question, he did us the favor and we had a free concert, overlooking the Arbel cliffs.  After that, we went to Tzipori, where Rebbe Yehuda compiled the Mishnah (it’s amazing to see a whole city being unearthed), followed by a stop in IKEA (for my wife) and finally, dinner at the beach (pita & chummus).


Day two consisted of a drive up to Metullah (on the Lebanese border), via the Naftali mountains, where we did a 4-km hike in the middle of the day, photos of tanks and APCs, and a visit to Rebbe Yehuda Bar Ilui, Meron (of course), and finally home.


We had a great time and we promised to do it again in the winter.


Now that we just visted Rabbeinu B’chaya, how about a Dvar Torah that he wrote?


“Separate yourselves from amid this assembly” (Bamidbar 16:21). 


Rabbeinu B’chaya asks, why is it necessary for Hashem to tell Moshe and Aharon to separate themselves from Korach and his followers?  If Hashem wanted to spare Moshe from Korach’s punishment, He could have easily done so.  Why did he have to separate himself from Korach?


Rabbeinu B’chaya answers that Hashem did not want Moshe and Aharon to be tainted by the negative atmosphere Korach and his followers created.  Just being near them could have an effect.  From this, he continues, we see the importance of making sure not only stay to away from people who can have a negative effect on us, even if indirectly, but also to make sure we come close to those who will make a positive atmosphere for us to grow from.


Have a great Shabbos!