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Korach had "250" on his side. How many did Moshe/Aharon have on their side?

What do the rabbis say?

The other side of the coin: How many "Elders of Israel" (Bamidbar 16:25) were among the "250" men that sided with Korach?

I am assuming that perhaps at least one person who sided with Korach was an Elder of Israel. In my mind, the Elders of Israel are at least נְשִׂיאֵי עֵדָה קְרִאֵי מוֹעֵד, אַנְשֵׁי-שֵׁם ( Numbers 16:2 ), unless of course, one corrects me and says that Elders of Israel need not be נְשִׂיאֵי עֵדָה קְרִאֵי מוֹעֵד, אַנְשֵׁי-שֵׁם.

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3 Answers 3

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Based on the Pasuk in parshat Korach Bamidbar 16:25, Moshe went to Datan & Aviram with the Elders of Israel. A simple read of this verse means that the Elders were on Moshe's side.

  • Ibn Ezra says the Elders of Israel were 70 chosen people (based on what happened end of Parshat Behaalotecha since Ibn Ezra holds that the Korach rebellion happened in Chatserot, before the sin of the spies). Rabbeinu Bachya holds pretty much the same position.

  • Bechor Shor says the Elders of Israel were with Moshe to show him honor/repect.

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  • How many Elders of Israel (according to our Sages) were among the 250 men that sided with Korach?
    – ninamag
    May 28, 2021 at 9:12
  • @ninamag Why do you think there were any?
    – shmosel
    Jun 2, 2021 at 2:31
  • @shmosel I am assuming that at least one person who sided with Korach was an Elder of Israel, perhaps? In my mind, the Elders of Israel are at least נְשִׂיאֵי עֵדָה קְרִאֵי מוֹעֵד, אַנְשֵׁי-שֵׁם ( Numbers 16:2 ), unless of course, one corrects me and says that Elders of Israel need not be נְשִׂיאֵי עֵדָה קְרִאֵי מוֹעֵד, אַנְשֵׁי-שֵׁם
    – ninamag
    Jun 2, 2021 at 9:35
  • The Chasam Sofer suggests they'd been candidates, but I don't know of any source saying they were actually elders.
    – shmosel
    Jun 2, 2021 at 20:10
  • @shmosel "The Chasam Sofer suggests they" (the 250 men) had "been candidates" to become elders?
    – ninamag
    Jun 2, 2021 at 20:28
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Rashi on Bamidbar 16:19:

ויקהל עליהם קרח. בְּדִבְרֵי לֵצָנוּת, כָּל הַלַּיְלָה הַהוּא הָלַךְ אֵצֶל הַשְּׁבָטִים וּפִתָּה אוֹתָם — "כִּסְבוּרִין אַתֶּם שֶׁעָלַי לְבַדִּי אֲנִי מַקְפִּיד? אֵינִי מַקְפִּיד אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל כֻּלְּכֶם, אֵלּוּ בָאִין וְנוֹטְלִין כָּל הַגְּדֻלּוֹת, לוֹ הַמַּלְכוּת וּלְאָחִיו הַכְּהֻנָּה" עַד שֶׁנִּתְפַּתּוּ כֻלָּם

ויקהל עליהם קרח AND KORAH CONVENED [ALL THE CONGREGATION] AGAINST THEM, by means of scoffing language: that whole night he went round to all the tribes and tried to win them over: “Do you really think that I care for myself alone? It is only for all of you that I have a care! These men come and occupy every high office: royal rank for himself, for his brother the priesthood!” — until in the end all of them submitted to his persuasion (Midrash Tanchuma, Korach 7).

(Quote and translation from sefaria)

It seems from here that moshe had very few, if any, followers by that point. Korach however seems to have quite a following, though the 250 were likely the most outspoken, seeing as they spontaneously combusted.

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  • How many "Elders of Israel" (Bamidbar 16:25) were among the 250 men that sided with Korach? I am looking for an answer based on what our Sages said.
    – ninamag
    May 28, 2021 at 9:14
  • Spontaneously combusted?
    – shmosel
    Jun 2, 2021 at 2:29
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The Satmar Rebbe once said that he recalled hearing his great-grandfather, the Yismach Moshe tell his own son, the Yitav Lev (the Satmar Rebbe’s grandfather) that the Yismach Moshe came to this world on three different occasions through the concept of Gilgul Neshamos (reincarnation). The first time he was in this world, he claimed, was in the period of the Jewish people in the desert at the time of the incident of the Rebellion of Korach and his congregation. Upon hearing this, the Yitav Lev asked his father to tell him about the events of that time. The Yismach Moshe told his son that all the Heads of the Sanhedrin sided with Korach and the masses of the people sided with Moshe. The Yitav Lev then pressed his father and asked him "Who did you side with?" He responded "I was neutral". The Yitav Lev asked him, how he could not support Moshe, when his greatness was so clear. The Yitav Lev told his son, “I can see that you have no inkling of what a great person Korach was. If you would have been there and you would have seen who Korach was you would not be so shocked by my neutrality.”

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