Ask most people who have even just a bit of knowledge of the Bible who “Korah,” was, and you’ll hear the response: rebellion. And what happened to him is almost as well-known: he was taken alive ‘into the pit’ as the earth opened up.
This parsha (Korach, Numbers chapters 16 through 18), and the associated haftorah, from I Samuel 12, is also essentially ‘segment two’ of what Mark sometimes calls the ‘Demonocracy series,’ from the Bible. And that, too, seems to connect to the larger topic of Rebellion.
First, the story itself, in the Erev Shabbat overview and reading:
Whether they complained, murmured, and even rebelled, or not, the ‘mixed multitude’ had a leader in Moshe like no other people in history had before them.
And Korach and his rebellion without question demonstrated some characteristics and behavior that was a precursor to the virtually identical lies we still see today. Still, though, it wasn’t a polar opposite. They wanted power for themselves, but still claimed to want to worship the same YHVH that guided them in the wilderness.
And that is at least part of what is so different this time.
What is the Opposite of Moses?
The combined full two-part teaching is here: