Posted by: jdiscover | June 11, 2010

Be A Giver!

This week’s Torah reading begins, “And Korach…took…” the text does not indicate what exactly he took.  Many translations understand that he took his followers, but literally, the words indicate limitless open-ended taking.  Some of us are givers, Korach, was a taker. 

Korach wanted power and control. With Korach the traffic was all one way. Korach challenges Moses leadership of the people because he wanted the benefits of being in charge – the prestige, the perks and the honor. What he didn’t want were the responsibilities. He wanted to be above the community. He had no interest in contributing to the welfare of his community. 

To be part of community is, as the preamble to our constitution puts it; “to promote the general Welfare.” Korach was not interested in the general welfare, his interest was his welfare. 

In my opinion, America today has too many Korachs. Too many citizens, people of means and influence, who are takers and not givers. We have too many individuals, politicians and groups who worry only about their own power and influence. We live in a time when the political and societal gaps are increasing and becoming more extreme and divisive. One “interest group” after another places their interests, like Korach, above the interest of the whole.

 Please do not misunderstand me; I believe that lively debate is healthy for society. Moses welcomes the advice and even the prophecies of others. What he and God cannot tolerate is an individual, like Korach, who takes from others without giving in return. Teaches our Torah, only those who demonstrate concern for “the general Welfare” should be able to exercise influence. Concern and responsibility for society must be a common denominator for all leaders be they political, financial or opinion leaders.

 What do you think? Do we have leaders and institutions who are responsible only for their own welfare? What are we to do about it?

 Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi David Rose

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