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June 23, 2023: Parashat Torah Portion Korah

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Korah is taken from Numbers 16:1-18:32. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he cross-examines Korah and Moses with the characteristic of a truly great leader. "YESHUA called the Twelve (disciples) and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35.

Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashah Torah Portion:

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Korah - Numbers 16:1-18:32

In Numbers 16:3 it says, “They assembled themselves against Moshe and Aharon and said to them, “You take too much on yourselves! After all, the entire community is holy, every one of them, and Adonai is among them. So why do you lift yourselves up above Adonai’s assembly.” So, my question is, “What exactly was wrong with what Korach and his crew of agitators said?” We know that Korach wanted power for himself, not for the people. We know that the protestors were disingenuous. Each one had their reasons to feel resentful toward Moses and Aharon or fate. However, setting all that aside for a moment—Was what they said true or false?

They were correct when they said, “all the community was holy”, they were a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Elohim was with them, which was the point of the Tabernacle. Exodus 25:8 says, “Have them make Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them.” In Exodus 40:38 it tells us His Shekinah was a cloud by day and a fire by night all during their travels. The Divine Presence was visible with the people wherever they went. However, what was wrong with their last remark? “Why do you set yourselves above Elohim’s congregation?” HOLD UP…this was not just a small mistake this was a fundamental one!

Moses represents the birth of a new kind of leadership that Korach and his followers and us today don’t understand. Ziggurats and pyramids were more than just buildings. They were statements in stone of a social order…wide at the base and narrow at the top. The top was the king or pharaoh—at the point—so it was believed that is where heaven and earth came together. Beneath was a series of elites and beneath that was the laboring masses. This was believed to be the only way of organizing a society. The very universe was organized on this principle: Sun ruled the heavens; lion ruled the animal kingdom; king ruled the nation. This is how it was in nature so this is how it must be. Some are born to rule and others to be ruled.

However, in Biblical Judaism there is a protest against this kind of hierarchy. Every human being, not just the king, was made in the image and likeness of Elohim. Therefore no one is entitled to rule over any other without their assent. Please listen, there is still a need for leadership because without a conductor an orchestra would lapse into discord. Without a captain a team might have brilliant players but not be a team. Without generals an army would be a mob and without government a nation would lapse into anarchy.

In a social order in which everyone has equal dignity in the eyes of heaven, a leader does not stand above the people. He serves the people…He serves Elohim! One of the greatest symbols of Israel is the Menorah. It is an inverted pyramid or ziggurat, broad at the top and narrow at the base. The greatest leader is therefore the humblest. Num, 12:3 says, “Now the man Moses was a quietly humble man, more so than anyone living on Earth.” Moses was a servant leader and its origin is in the Torah. The highest accolade given to Moses is that he was “the servant of Adonai” (Deut. 34:5). He is given this title 18 times in the Tanakh as a whole. Joshua is the only leader that merits the same description twice. No less fascinating is the fact that only one person in the Torah is commanded to be humble, namely the king, in Deut. 17:18-20.

On the flip side, there is a list of those who have no share in the world to come: Someone who rules or imposes a rule of fear on the community, not for the sake of heaven—this person rules over a community by force and doing so for his own glory and personal interests…like heathen kings. Certainly, leaders behave this way, however, it is not the Biblical or Hebraic way to behave.

Positions of leadership are not positions of honor but are chances to serve. Martin Luther King once said, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Great leaders respect others. Great leaders honor, lift and inspire them to reach greater heights. Great leaders are motivated by ideals and not by personal ambition like Korach. Great leaders do not succumb to the arrogance of power.

Sometimes the worst mistake we make are when we project our feelings onto others. Korach was an ambitious man, so he saw Moses and Aharon as two people driven by ambition, “Setting themselves above Elohim’s congregation.” He did not understand to lead is to serve! Those who do not serve lift themselves high. Those who serve lift other people high! According to Paul, our very flesh is opposed to the Torah. Romans 8:7 says, “For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to Elohim because it does not submit itself to Elohim’s Torah—indeed, it cannot.” Yet in Messiah we have a new identity! We don’t need to submit to our flesh. We need not join Korach and perish in his rebellion. In Messiah the flesh has been crucified with Messiah. We must acknowledge the authority of the words of Moses. Be a Moses not a Korach! Korach brought destruction to his family and those he influenced. Moses led them to a Promised Land where the abundant life of Elohim was flowing with His Glory! Be a Moses…the Torah King Leader, who led his people into the power and purpose of Elohim!

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

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It is time to rise leaders and become the Torah King Leaders Elohim desires. Be a Moses not a Korach! Come rejoicing this Sabbath as we celebrate the ONE true Torah King Messiah. Let the watchman take their position on the wall. Sound the alarm and blow the shofar! The KING is coming! See you at the altar!

Shalom Aleichem

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