This week’s reading puts to rest the misguided notion that “there are two sides to every argument.” This statement is, at its essence, a truism — so in actual use, it is intended to convey that each side must be exaggerating, that the truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
In our case, Korach accuses Moshe and Aharon of elevating themselves over the congregation, although everyone — and we do mean, quite literally, everyone — saw Moshe lead us out of Egypt, engage in a unique dialog with G-d, ascend Mt. Sinai, descend with the two Tablets, and on and on. And various other people, motivated by their own agendas, side with Korach!
It is possible to be a builder, and it is possible to be a destroyer — not with physical action, but simply by sowing division and discord. One can take the most ridiculous and patently false idea under the sun (mercenaries with bulletproof vests and knives as “peace activists” leaps, of course, to mind), and someone will believe it.
None of us consider ourselves capable of creating division like Korach. But when there is an argument affecting ourselves and our communities, we all must shoulder the responsibility to be discerning and thoughtful, before simply concluding that each of the two sides must both be wrong.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org