Proverbs 10:7 states, "The name of the wicked shall rot." In the Talmud (Yoma 38b) Rabbi Elazar comments on this by saying, "It means that decay will spread on their names, meaning that we do not call others by their names, and the name will sink into oblivion."

I would have thought that Korach's name would be such a name, yet a parshat is named after him. I understand that a parshat takes its name from something found in the first line or so. So why wasn't Parshat Korach worded differently such that Korach's name did not appear in the first line or two; that way the parhat could have been given a different name. Why was a parshat named after Korach?


1 Answer 1


Rabbi Levi Druk answers this question in the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe suggests (Sefer Hasichot, 5750) that Korach had a positive and redeeming quality, in light of which we name the portion after him.

Korach’s motive was that he yearned to serve G-d as a Kohen Gadol (Numbers, 16:10), something Moshe himself said he desired (Rashi 16:6). In fact, Maimonides notes (Shemita, Chapter 13) that every individual should strive to spiritually be like a High Priest. “Not only the tribe of Levi,” he writes, “but any one of the inhabitants of the world whose spirit generously motivates him and he understands with his wisdom to set himself aside and stand before G-d to serve Him and minister to Him and to know G-d, proceeding justly as G-d made him, removing from his neck the yoke of the many reckonings which people seek, he is sanctified as holy of holies.”

This yearning to connect with Hashem in the most holy of ways is a positive trait, something we should all remember and emulate.

  • 4
    A friend pointed out that we know that Hashem saw truth in the demand, because afterwards there was the contest of the staffs and the re-choosing of Aharon. The demand had merit but the overall method was wrong.
    – Harel13
    Jun 29, 2020 at 20:25

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