Today's Korachs are politicians

The mini Korachs of today express the same jealousy and hatred for Netanyahu that Korach had for Moshe.

Tzvi Fishman ,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Liron Moldovan/POOL/Flash90
The Torah informs us that the sons of Korach did not die. We learn from this that there will be masters of machloket (argument and division) in every generation.

Today we have Naftali Korach, and Gideon Korach, Ayalet Korach, Yair Korach, Avigdor Korach, Benny Korach, and others, who all want to become the leader of our Nation. The same way that Korach opposed the leadership of Moshe (see the parsha called Korach in the Book of Numbers), they oppose the leadership of Netanyahu. “Just not Bibi” is their motto.

Sadly, we see how they are obsessively driven by their hatred for him. Like Korach, they propose all sorts of reasons to dethrone the reigning king. Indeed, some of the reasons may have validity. The purpose of this essay is not to glorify Bibi, who, while deserving the praise and the gratitude of the Nation for many worthy achievements, certainly has shortcomings as well.

What I would like to point out is that the mini Korachs of today express the same jealousy and hatred that Korach had for Moshe. This reprehensible hatred sticks out glaringly in everything they say and do. It reminds me of something which former Chief Rabbi and head of Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Shapira, of blessed memory, said about Ariel Sharon when I interviewed the Torah luminary for a short film against the evacuation of Gush Katif. When asked if a government in Israel had the right to surrender parts of Eretz Yisrael, he answered, “There is a yetzer to do evil.”

Feeling that his reply did not address the question, I asked it again. Once more he answered firmly, “There is a yetzer (drive, inclination, ed.) to do evil.” He didn’t say, “There is a yetzer hara.” He said, “There is a yetzer to do evil.” While the difference aroused my interest, I stuck to the original question, wanting to film his halakhic response to the burning issue of the day, in order to send the film to all of the members of the Likud Central Committee before their vote on the Sharon proposal to destroy Gush Katif.

Once again, this time with his famous mischievous smile and twinkly eyes, Rav Avrom, as he was reverently and affectionately called, repeated the very same words. Baruch Mazel was with me at the time, helping in the campaign against Sharon's maniacal plan. He told the Chief Rabbi that we needed a more halakhic answer to influence the Likud members who had “yirat shamayim” a remnant of religious belief. He gazed at us in surprise and replied, “Why do you ask me a question to which every child in Heder knows the answer?”

The point is, the Korachs of today are driven by the same yetzer to do evil. I am sure they all genuinely believe (excluding Liberman) that they are acting in the best interests of the country, but this is total and simple self-deception. In their facial expressions, and in their words, you can clearly see the hatred and jealousy in their hearts.

Alas, we know that sinat chinam (gratuitous hatred) destroyed our national home during the Second Temple. What are we to do? Another election? A government supported by Arabs? One could fall into despair if one forgot that the Master of the World is behind the political curtain as well, holding the strings of the puppets on stage.

Therefore, allow me to offer an insight of the iconic leader of Religious Zionism, Israel's first Chief Rabbi, HaRav Avraham Yitzhak Kohen Kook to help understand that while the situation seems bleak, we are still on the right course toward our complete Redemption. In his book, “Orot,” Rabbi Kook presents a deep understanding to the question – what went wrong? After all, the Sages teach that our long exile from our Land came to refine us and rectify the faulty character traits which led to the destruction of our national politic, which was filled with narcissism and sinat chinam. And yet, it seems that today, judging from our political quagmire and ugly inner frictions, in our return to Eretz Yisrael and the re-establishment of the State of Israel, the very same plague of narcissism and sinat chinam continues just as before.

Did the tikun which Hashem intended fail? Did He bring us back to our Homeland too soon, before we corrected the evil traits which caused our downfall in the past?

Rav Kook explains that the necessary factors in country building and politics draw nations toward materialism and material inclinations which arouse temptations and corrupted behavior. While Am Yisrael has a tendency toward excessive materialism and evil inclinations, like other nations, which brings about their eventual destruction, Israel’s great, inner spiritual strengths act like a safety system which brings it back to a healthy and holy equilibrium, preventing its demise, Heaven forbid. During the long exile, when we lacked any form of national rule and political sovereignty, our spiritual natures were indeed refined within our ghetto communities and “four cubits of halakha.” The desired tikun was completed, and our return to self-government in Eretz Yisrael was all according to the Divine Plan.

True, we once again inclined toward a renewed obsession in pursuit of the physical, along with its accompanying corruptions and personal envies and lusting for power and the like, but that, Rabbi Kook explains, is a natural and temporary part of the process, before our holy, built-in spiritual resources bring the pendulum back into equilibrium, which will enable the renewed Kingdom of David to be rebuilt on the exactly balanced foundation between the physical and the spiritual necessary to establish the Kingdom of G-d in the world.

Savlanut! Patience is needed. In the meantime, what are we to do? Rav Kook writes (loosely translated): “The spiritual leaders, gifted educators, writers and social critics enlightened by the Torah, who have influence on the many, need to find the spiritual light which exists within the materialistic inclination, and to illuminate its intended goal. To the extent that they reveal this inner light to the people of the Nation, the disease of Chutzpah will be healed, and its evil symptoms will disappear, awakening the natural essence of the overall Nation, vivifying its national soul and gracing it with its true spiritual splendor.”

Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Jewish Culture and Creativity. Before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984, he was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbis A. Y. Kook and T. Y. Kook. His other books include: "The Kuzari For Young Readers" and "Tuvia in the Promised Land". His books are available on Amazon. Recently, he directed the movie, "Stories of Rebbe Nachman."
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