Living Room Minyan - Spiritual Question for July 8, 2016 - Navigating the Sovereign Self

Join us on Friday evenings at 6:15 pm for a relaxed and upbeat Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv service.  During our intimate service in the round, we will pray together, learn together, and explore a spiritual question posed by Rabbi David Baum.  There's no need to dress up!  Come as you are to connect to community and to God in our  'Living Room' at Congregation Shaarei Kodesh.

Korach, Datan and Abiram, say the following to Moses and Aaron: “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and the Lord is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s congregation?”

It seems like they are sticking up for all of us doesn't it! Why are you hoarding all of the power?!? But let's look closer at the sentences that precede this statement:

“Now Korach, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, TOOK, (along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peletch, descendants of Reuben – Numbers 16:1

Rashi, quating midrash Tanhuma, states:
Korah… took: He took himself to one side to dissociate himself from the congregation, to contest the [appointment of Aaron to the] priesthood. This is what Onkelos means when he renders it וְאִתְפְּלֵג,“and he separated himself.” He separated himself from the congregation to persist in a dispute.
Similarly, מה יקחך לבך, “Why does your heart take you away?” (Job 15:12) meaning, it removes you, to isolate you from others (Midrash Tanchuma Korach 2). Another explanation: He attracted the heads of the Sanhedrin among them with amicable words. Similarly, “Take Aaron [with words]” (20:25); “Take words with you” (Hosea 14:3) (Midrash Tanchuma Korach 1). - [Num. Rabbah 18:2]

What was Korach's real motivation? Was it about the people, or was it really about him? Everyday, we engage in a delicate dance between the self and the community, but it seems that nowadays, the sovereign self is taking precedent

Our spiritual question for tonight: What helps you resist the temptation to act solely for yourself? Share a story when you acted for the sake of others and the for the sake of heaven.


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