Parashat Korakh / פרשת קורח

Crop of The Judgement of Korah Dathan and Abiram by Maria Hadfield Cosway


Parashat Korakh is the 38th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the fifth reading of Bamidbar (“Numbers”). Korakh (קֹ֔רַח) is the second Hebrew word of the parashah, the name of the first of three men who lead the rebellion of 250 elders of the congregation of Yisrael in the wilderness against the authority of Moshe (Moses), the servant of HaShem, and against Aharon (Aaron), the Kohen Gadol (High Priest).

Moshe responds in meekness, bowing himself to the ground, and proactively provides the means to settle the dispute, yet points out the great error Korach and his followers are making. Moshe also appeals to HaShem to judge justly between him and the rebels, and the Glory of HaShem appears to the congregation. The situation is dire for the congregation, but the fervent intercessory prayers of Moshe and Aharon move HaShem to be merciful, though His judgement remains on the men who incited the rebellion, and in a miraculous way.

The congregation nevertheless rebels against Moshe after this, and, while HaShem is ready to destroy them, Moshe again invokes the mercy of HaShem to save them. While some of the people perish, most of the people are spared. One final example is given to the people of Yisrael to see who among them HaShem will choose to minister at Ohel Moed (the Tent of Meeting).

Those chosen are called to minister, and HaShem also gives them all the things that are consecrated to Him from the people of Yisrael and defines what those offerings include and who may partake of them. Furthermore, the inheritance rights of those called are defined and the reasoning provided. Instructions are then given for those who guard the Mikdash (Sanctuary).

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Torah Portion: Numbers 16:1 – 18:32

1st Aliyah: Numbers 16:1-13 (13 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Numbers 16:14-19 (6 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Numbers 16:20-17:8 (24 verses)
4th Aliyah: Numbers 17:9-15 (7 verses)
5th Aliyah: Numbers 17:16-24 (9 verses)
6th Aliyah: Numbers 17:25-18:20 (24 verses)
7th Aliyah: Numbers 18:21-32 (12 verses)
Maftir: Numbers 18:30-32 (3 verses)

Special Maftir
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Numbers 28:9-15 (7 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
I Samuel 11:14 – 12:22

When Parashat Korakh coincides with a special Shabbat, a different Haftarah is traditionally read:

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Isaiah 66:1 – 66:24

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