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In Bamidbar 16:7, Moshe chastises Korach and his congregation saying, רַב לָכֶם בְּנֵי לֵוִי. However, other than Korach himself being from Levi, the rest of the co-conspiritors seemed to be mainly from Reuvain (see 16:1 and Rashi).

My question is why does Moshe refer to this group of people, of which there only seems to be one Levi, as בְּנֵי לֵוִי?

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    If no one else, there are Korach's sons.
    – Alex
    Jun 3, 2013 at 18:11
  • @Alex do we know that they were there originally? I thought they were only included in pasuk 27
    – user2110
    Jun 3, 2013 at 20:02
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    Rashi to Num. 26:11 says הם היו בעצה תחילה, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos 33:170ff, sec. 1 and 5) explains that indeed this means that they were among the instigators of the rebellion (but that their thoughts of teshuvah saved them from utter destruction).
    – Alex
    Jun 4, 2013 at 4:37

3 Answers 3

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The Abarbanel on this pasuk learns that Moshe's statement of רַב לָכֶם בְּנֵי לֵוִי was in fact aimed at the minority of Levites who had assembled as part of Korach's congregation. Moshe was hoping at the very least to have those Levites abandon the cause. He adduces further proof from the following pasuk where the plural term is used even though Moshe is ostensibly speaking to an individual

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-קֹרַח: שִׁמְעוּ-נָא, בְּנֵי לֵוִי

Moshe then continues to speak in the plural indicating that though he may have been talking to Korach his message was meant to be heard by others. From the context of the pesukim which follow it is clear he is speaking specifically to Levites.

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There are appears to be two separate rebellions, that of Korach and that of Datan and Aviram, which co-occurred. That congregation of Korach took the censers to challenge Aharon's status as kohen. The congregation of Datan and Aviram rebelled differently. And each congregation died differently. Further, it is feasible to separate out these two threads of conflict.

It seems quite possible even according to Rashi on 16:1, there were many from both Reuven and Levi. And if so, the Levites followed Korach.

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The essence of their complaint is that they are bnei Levi, but don't have the privileges and duties of the kohanim. Moshe is chastising them based on their complaint.

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    But the Rubenites aren't benei levi
    – Double AA
    Jun 3, 2013 at 16:33
  • Korach is a Ben Levi, as we're told in bamidbar 16:1. He is the leader, and that was his complaint. What's so difficult abou that? And perhaps bnei Reuben felt like they should have more exalted roles and rites because they were from the firstborn. On another note, why all the negativity and sarcasm? Jun 3, 2013 at 18:35
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    I apologize for the negativity and have deleted the previous comment. The reason for it is that I have found several times where you've posted an answer which does not seem to address the question in any meaningful way and which cites no sources to support your contention.
    – user2110
    Jun 3, 2013 at 19:55
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    Thanks for the constructive criticism. I'm new to this site, and am still getting used to highly structured rules Jun 4, 2013 at 1:17

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