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From Numbers 16  A commentary on Korah and his rebellion towards Moses: The Only True Possessions      by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein     June 20, 2017

Hebrew Word of the Day   Tzedek (Meaning: Righteousness)  Hear Translation »    

      As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. — Numbers 16:31–32

     The Torah portion for this week is Korach, which means “Korah,” from Numbers 16:1–18:32, and the Haftorah is from 1 Samuel 11:14–12:22.

Korah was an extremely wealthy man. Even today, the expression used in Hebrew to describe an affluent person is “as rich as Korah.” The Talmud says that hundreds of mules were needed just to carry the keys to Korah’s treasure houses. Legend has it that Korah was one of the wealthiest people to ever live.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon writes, “I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners” (Ecclesiastes 5:13). The Jewish sages explain that the wealth in this verse – the kind that hurts its owners – is a reference to the wealth of Korah. Korah’s wealth gave him a false sense of security and caused him to think that he was greater than he really was. But Korah’s wealth ended up his greatest enemy. It led to his rebellion and his downfall.

     The sages teach that Korah’s sons stood by his side in his rebellion. When the ground opened up, it swallowed Korah, his sons, and all their possessions. However, the sages teach that the sons of Korah repented while they were underground, and then, they were miraculously led out of it. While they were underground they composed a powerful psalm about wealth that we still read today.

     In Psalm 49, Korah’s sons write, “Do not be overawed when others grow rich . . . for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them” (Psalm 49:16–17).

     Imagine this profound moment of clarity as Korah’s sons stood in-between worlds, watching their wealthy father and his prominent supporters perish in an instant. Where was their money now? All the money in the world could not buy back even a moment of life! Their money was now worthless!

There is a powerful story told about a member of the famous wealthy Rothschild family. Someone asked him, “Exactly how much wealth do you have?” In response, Lord Rothschild answered, “Let me show you.” He led the man to a room and showed him many documents. They were receipts from charities that he had supported. “These,” said Lord Rothschild, “are my only true possessions. Only the money that I have given away will accompany me to the grave.”

In the end, all possessions are meaningless; only our good deeds will be with us forever. So let us convert our wealth into charity and use our possessions to do kindness. Then we will have something of true value that will be with us forever.

     With prayers for shalom, peace,
     Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
     Founder and President, Holy Land Moments

                                                                                 Numbers Outlined     Brian Yeager's Outlines

I      Israel in the Wilderness (1:1 to 22:1) 

   A.   Counting the people (1:1-54) total 603,550 Only 70 souls went to Egypt Exodus 1:5

     1.   Only males over 20 were counted (1:3)  
     2.   Levites not included in the count (1:47) 
     3.   They obeyed Moses (1:54)

   B.   Arrangement of the tribes (2:1 to 4:49) 

     1.   The tabernacle and its attendants were in the center (2:2,17)  
     2.   On the East side were Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun (2:3-9)  
     3.   On the South side were Reuben, Simeon, and Gad (2:10-16)  
     4.   On the West side were Ephraim, Manaseh, 
     5.   On the North side were Dan, Asher, and Naphtali (2:25-2:31) 
     6.   Each tribe had its own standard and leader, or prince (1:5-16; 2:2)  
     7.   Priestly offices and functions (3:1-39) 

        a.   Generations of Aaron and Moses (3:1)  
        b.   Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, died before the Lord (3:4) Leviticus 10:1-2 
        c.   Aaron’s sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, took the priest’s office (3:4)  
        d.   Duties of Levites (3:5-9)  
        e.   The Levites counted and assigned their duties (3:10-39) 

     8.   Numbering of the firstborn males from a month old, Levites exempted (3:40-45)  
     9.   Firstborn redeemed by payment of five shekels each (3:46-51) A Shekel was $1920 x 5 = $9600. A Gerah .02 oz x 20 = .4 ounces the weight of a Shekel. 
   10.   Duties assigned to Levites (4:1-49) 

   C.   Purification of the camp (5:1 to 10:10) 

     1.   Defiled person (ceremonially unclean) excluded from the camp (5:1-4)  
     2.   Confession and restitution in trespass (5:5-10) I John 1:9 
     3.   The trial of jealously (5:11-31)  
     4.   Law of the Nazarites (6:1-21)  
     5.   Priestly blessing of Israel (6:22-27) Blessing was conditional Deuteronomy 28:1-6, Leviticus 26:3-6  & Isaiah 26:3. V.26 Peace comes through Christ to

            us Romans 5:1 and Philippians 4:6-7 
     6.   Offering of tribal leaders (princes) to the Levites (7:1-89)  
     7.   Lighting of the lamps (8:1-4)  
     8.   Consecration of the Levites (8:5-26)  
     9.   Passover stipulations (9:1-14)  
   10.   The Pillar of cloud to guide the Israelites (9:15-23)  
   11.   The silver trumpets (10:1-10) 

   D.   Sins on the journey from Sinai to Kadesh (10:11-12:16) 

     1.   Departure from Mount Sinai (10:11-36)  
     2.   People complained; burning at Taberah (11:1-3)  
     3.   Manna from Jehovah (11:4-9)  
     4.   People long for flesh to eat (11:10-15) Matthew 6:25-34 
     5.  Seventy elders established (11:6-30) Notice verses 14-15, the weight of leadership Hebrews 13:7;17 
     6.  The Israelites fed quails (11:31-35)  
     7.  Sin of Miriam and Aaron in rebelling against Moses (12:1-16) 

   E.   Failure at Kadesh (13:1 to 14:14:45) 

     1.   Spying out the promised land (13:1-33)  
     2.   Israel rebels (14:1-10)  
    3.   Moses intercedes (14:11-19) Hebrews 3:7-16 
     4.   God condemns Israel to die in the wilderness (14:20-45) Hebrews 3:17-18

   F.   Wandering in the wilderness (15:1 to 19:22) 

     1.   Sacrifices of animals and wine (15:1-31) 15:10 "sweet smelling savour" Ephesians 5:2 
     2.   Sabbath breaker stoned (15:32-36)  
     3.   Fringes on garments (15:37-41)  
     4.   Sin of Korah (16:1-50)  
     5.   Aaron’s rod that budded (17:1-13) Hebrews 9:4 
     6.   Function and place of the priests (18:1 to 19:22) 

   G.   Sins on the way to Moab (20:1 to 25:18) 

     1.   Death of Miriam (20:1)  
     2.   Sin of Moses & Aaron in striking the rock to bring water (20:2-13) Deuteronomy 34:4-5 & Numbers 27:12-14 
     3.   Edom refuses to let the Israelites pass through (20:14-21)  
     4.   Death of Aaron (20:22-29)  
     5.   Defeat of the king of Arad (21:1-3)  
     6.   The burning, fiery serpents and the brazen serpent (21:4-9) God’s forgiveness continually displayed 
     7.   Journey to Moab (21:10-20)  
     8.   Victory over Sihon (21:21-32)  
     9.   Victory over Bashan (21:33-35) 

  II.   Israel turns away from God (22:1 – 25:18)

   A.   Balak fails to turn the Lord from Israel (22:2 – 24:25) I

     1.   Balaam summoned by Balak (22:2- 22:40) 

       a. The first creature to speak in unknown tongues (22:21-35)

     2.   The oracles of Balaam (22:41 – 24:25) I Peter 4:11 (Notice 22:35, 23:11-12, 23:26, and 24:13)

   B.   Israel turns from Lord Numbers 31:16, II Peter 2:14-16, Jude 11, and Revelation 2:14

     1. The Baal-peor sin (25:1-5)  
     2. Zeal of Phinehas (25:6-18)   In verse 25:9 ~ 24,000 died in result of their sins. I Corinthians 10:8 mentions the
number of 23,000.

              The two possible reasons for the different number would be:

             *1,000 were slain in the punishment of Numbers 25:4. The remaining 23,000 died-Numbers 25:5.

              *Paul stated "…and fell in one day three and twenty thousand…"  

  III.   Reorganization of Israel (26:1 to 36:12) 

   A.  Second counting of the people (26:1 to 27:23) 

     1.   Total number of males over 20 was 601,730 (26:1-51)  
     2.   Inheritance in the land (26:52-65) 

   B.   Inheritance of daughters (27:1-11)  
   C.   Israel’s new leader – Joshua (27:12-23) Moses is put aside for his sin at Kadesh (20:2-13) 
   D.   Regulations and vows (28:1 to 30:16) 

     1.   Offerings to be observed (28:1-8)  
     2.   Continual burnt offerings on the sabbath (28:9-10)  
     3.   Sacrifices at new moons (28:11-25)  
    4.   Sacrifices on the day of firstfruits (28:26-31)  
     5.   Sacrifice at the feat of trumpets (29:1-6)  
     6.   Sacrifice at the afflicting of souls (29:7-11) 

   E.   Sacrifice of holy convocation at feast of tabernacles (29:12-40)  
   F.   Regulation of vows (30:1-16)  
   G.   Conquest and division of Canaan (31:1 to 36:13) 

     1.   Midianites defeated (31:1-54)  
     2.   Ruben & Gad inherit on the East side of the Jordan (32:1-42) Notice the agreement in 32:16-23. In 32:6 the question Moses posed "Shall your brethren

           go to war, and shall ye sit here". Reflecting to the Christian war against Satan Ephesians 6:11, Matthew 13:38-39& James 4:4, we must be united not

           scattered Matt 12:30 
     3.  Summary of journeys from Rameses to the plain of Moab (33:1-49)  
     4.  The Canaanites and their idols to be destroyed (33:50-56)  
     5.  Borders of the land (34:1-16)  
     6.  Men which shall divide the land (34:17-29)  
Cities given to the Levites (35:1-8)  
     8.  Avenger of wrath and cities of refuge (35:9-34)  
     9.   Inheritance of daughters, and marrying within the tribe (36:1-12) 

  IV.   Commandments and judgments made by the hand of Moses (36:13)

   A.   God spoke through the prophets 36:13 
   B.   Throughout Old Testament times Hebrews 1:1 and II Peter 1:21 
   C.   Now, in the present time speaks through Christ Hebrews 1:2

     1.   Which is the New Testament Hebrews 9:15

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