Parshas Korach-Summary of the Parsha

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Parshas Korach

Pesukim: 95 [Siman: דניאל]

Haftorah: Shmuel 1 11:14-12:22


Number of Mitzvos:

There are a total of nine Mitzvos in Parshas Korach; Five positive commands and Four negative commands. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.


A. Positive:

1. Mitzvah 388; Positive 156: For the Kohanim and Levites to guard the Mikdash every night, throughout the nights.

2. Mitzvah 392; Positive 157: To redeem a firstborn son.

3. Mitzvah 394; Positive 158: For the Levites to work in the Temple as guards, and singers.

4. Mitzvah 395; Positive 159: To separate 10% of the land produce to the Levites [i.e. Maaser].

5. Mitzvah 396; Positive 160: For the Levites to separate Teruma from the Maaser that they receive.


B. Negative:

1. Mitzvah 389; Negative 233: The prohibition for the Levites to perform services of the Kohanim or vice versa.

2. Mitzvah 390; Negative 234: The prohibition for a non-Kohen to perform service in the Mikdash.

3. Mitzvah 391; Negative 235: The prohibition to leave the Mikdash unguarded anytime throughout the night.

4. Mitzvah 393; Negative 236: The prohibition to redeem the firstborn animal.



  1. Korach and his men confront Moshe and Aaron:
  • Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kehos, the son of Levi, took with him Dasan, Aviram and On Ben Peles from the tribe of Reuvein and confronted Moshe. They came with a group of 250 leaders of the Jewish people who joined their fight against Moshe. The group confronted Moshe and Aaron with the claim that they made themselves the elite of the Jewish people when in truth all the Jewish people are holy.


  1. Moshe’s response:
  • Moshe heard and fell on his face in reaction of their complaint.
  • The offering of Ketores and Hashem choosing the leader: Moshe replied to Korach that by morning Hashem will relate to everyone who in truth is meant to be the leaders of the Jewish people. This will be accomplished by having all the contenders, who desire to be leaders, offer Ketores onto the altar and whoever Hashem chooses, he will be the holy one. Each man is to take a pan filled with fire and Ketores and offer it before Hashem tomorrow.
  • Moshe admonishes the Levites: Moshe reproached the tribe of Levi telling them that they should be satisfied with the fact that they were chosen by Hashem to be the representatives of the Jewish people to serve Hashem in the Mishkan. “It is not right that you now step forward and demand to also become Kohanim. Why do you complain against Aaron, what is he that you should protest against him?”
  • Moshe summons Dasan and Aviram: Moshe summoned Dasan and Aviram, the accomplices of Korach, to speak with them but they refused to come. They replied, “Moshe took them out of a land of milk and honey to die in the dessert and he has no right to rule over us.”



  • Dasan and Aviram continued saying against Moshe that he has not brought us into the Promised Land, and even if he would have their eyes bulged out they would not approach Moshe.
  • Moshe’s wrath boiled at such an insidious reply and he turned to Hashem stating “Do not accept their Ketores offering. I have not taken one donkey from these people and I have not done wrong to any of them.”

  1. Moshe instructs the congregation regarding the Ketores offering:
    • Moshe told Korach that he and his entire congregation are to stand before Hashem tomorrow together with Aaron. Each man is to take a pan filled with Ketores and offer it before Hashem. There would be 250 pans of Ketores being offered [from Korach’s group]. Each of the contestants are to offer the Ketores in their pan.
    • They placed fire in the pan and then placed the incense on top of the fire and brought it before the Ohel Moed. Moshe and Aaron were present.
    • The Shechina appears: Korach gathered his entire group around Moshe and Aaron, in front of the Ohel Moed and the Shechina then appeared to the entire congregation.



  1. Hashem instructs Moshe:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron saying that they are to separate themselves from the congregation as they will be destroyed in a moment. Moshe and Aaron prostrated themselves before Hashem and beseeched for his mercy, and that he should not punish the entire congregation because of the sin of one man.

  1. Moshe instructs the Jewish people to disperse from the tent of Korach, Dasan and Aviram:
    • Hashem instructed Moshe to tell the congregation to disperse from the area of the encampments of Korach and Dasan and Aviram. Moshe, together with the elders of the Jewish people, approached Dasan and Aviram’s [camp] and told the congregation to disperse from the tents of these evildoers, and not to touch anything that is theirs, lest they will be killed for their sins. The congregation listened and dispersed from the area of Korach’s and Dasan and Aviram’s tent.

  1. Moshe confronts Korach and Dasan and gives them a severe warning:
    • Dasan and Aviram confronted Moshe and came out of their tents with their wives and entire family.
    • Moshe warned them that Hashem sent him to do all of these actions and the following will be the sign that I did not fabricate it from my heart. If you die like a regular man, then you know that I am a fraudster and Hashem did not send me. If, however Hashem will create a new creation, and the earth will open its mouth and swallow you, and all that you own, into the depths of purgatory, then that will the sign that you have started a fight with G-d.

  1. The earth swallows Koarch and kills his accomplices:
    • As Moshe finished speaking, the earth that was under them opened its mouth and swallowed their entire families and houses, and all the men who joined Korach, as well as all their property. They all descended alive into the depths of the earth and the earth covered them and they became lost from the congregation.
    • The people surrounding the area began fleeing with fright, having heard the screams of those who were swallowed, as they feared that they too would be consumed.
    • A fire exited from Hashem and consumed the 250 men that offered the Ketores.

  1. The pans of the Ketores are used to plate the altar:
    • Hashem instructed Moshe to tell Elazar to gather all the Ketores pans, as the pans have become holy. The pans are to be used for covering the Mizbeiach, and serve as a sign for the Jewish people. Elazar did as Moshe commanded, and he gathered the pans and made it into a coating for the Mizbeiach to serve as a sign for the Jewish people that a non-Kohen may not offer Ketores before Hashem, and that one is not to be like Korach and his accomplices.

  1. The congregation confronts Moshe and Aaron:
    • The next day, the entire Jewish people confronted Moshe and Aaron with the claim that they killed Hashem’s nation. As they were voicing their complaints the cloud of glory covered the Ohel Moed and Hashem appeared.
    • Moshe and Aaron entered the Ohel Moed.



  1. Hashem sends a plague to Kelal Yisrael:
    • Hashem spoke to Moshe saying that he should remove himself from the congregation as He will kill them instantly. Moshe [and Aaron] prostrated themselves before Hashem.
    • The plague began. Moshe instructed Aaron to hurry and offer Ketores in order to atone for the nation and stop the plague. Aaron did as he was instructed and hurried to offer the Ketores, and the plague ended. A total of 14,700 Jews died in the plague, in addition to the deaths of Korach and his congregation



  1. A staff is gathered from each tribe and the staff of Aaron blossoms:
  • Hashem instructed Moshe to take a staff from each one of the tribes of the Jewish people for a total of 12 staffs. Each tribe’s name is to be inscribed on their staff. Aaron’s name is to be written on the staff of the tribe of Levi. The staffs are to be placed in the Ohel Moed and whoever is chosen, his staff will blossom, and thus the complaint of the Jewish people will subside.
  • Moshe spoke to the people of G-d’s instructions and the people did as Moshe commanded, and the staffs were placed by Moshe inside the Ohel. The next day, when Moshe entered the Ohel he found that the staff of Aaron had blossomed and grew almonds. Moshe removed all the staffs from before Hashem and each person took his staff.



  • Hashem instructed Moshe to preserve the staff of Aaron, and place it in the Heichal as a sign for the rebels and to end their complaint against Me.

  1. The Jewish people are in despair:
  • After all the above events, the Jewish people cried to Moshe in despair that they will all be doomed, as anyone who breaches the boundaries of the Kohanim is bound to die.

  1. Hashem instructs Aaron to guard the Mishkan:
  • Hashem told Aaron that he and his children will carry the responsibility of preventing breaches of non-Kohanim entering into the Mikdash.
  • The tribe of Levi was given to Aaron to assist him in his work. The Levites are to guard the borders of the Mishkan, although are not to serve in the Temple.

  1. Hashem designates gifts to Aaron and the Kohanim:
  • Kodshim: Hashem spoke to Aaron saying that He has given the Kohanim the rights to eat the meat of all the sacrifices, and flour offerings. Everything set aside from the sacrifcies is given to them. Only males are to eat the sacrifices in a most holy way. Only pure Kohanim may eat it.
  • Teruma: The people are to give Teruma to the Kohanim. The best of the grains and best of the wine and oil.
  • Bikurim: The first of all their produce that is brought to G-d is given to you. It is to be eaten by those who are pure in your home.
  • Cherem: Every Cherem [segregated property] is to go to the Kohanim.
  • Bechor: The firstborn of a person and animal is to go to the Kohanim. The firstborn human and impure animals [i.e. donkey] are to be redeemed. The firstborn son is to be redeemed with five Shekalim after 30 days. The firstborn of pure animals is not to be redeemed, and is rather to have its blood and fat offered to the altar, as it is holy. You are, however, to eat its meat.
  • Inheritance of the land: Hashem told Aaron that the Kohanim will not receive an inheritance of the land in Israel, as I am your portion and heritage among Bnei Yisrael.



  1. Hashem designates gifts to the Levi’im:
  • Maaser: The Levites are to receive Maaser from the Jewish people in exchange for their work in the Temple, so that the Jewish people are to no longer come close to the Ohel Moed and die.
  • Inheritance of the land: The Levites will not receive an inheritance of land in Israel, as they were given the Maaser as their inheritance.
  • Terumas Maaser: Hashem commanded Moshe to tell the Levites that they are to give Terumos Maaser from the Maaser that they receive from the Jewish people. The Teruma is to be give to Aaron the Kohen [and his sons the Kohanim]. Once the Teruma is set aside, they may then partake in the Maaser they received just like all other produce.
  • The Maaser may be eaten anywhere, by one’s entire family, as it is his wages for working in the Ohel Moed.

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