Skip to content


TorahAnytimes Newsletter Korach

Jul 6, 2024Parshat Korach

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

header image

Rabbi Shlomo Farhi

Calling Your Name

“From here, Ben Azzai declared: “They will call your name and in your place, they will seat you, and from what is yours, they will give to you. No one touches that which is prepared for his friend” (Yoma 38a). On this, Rashi comments: “A person should not worry, saying that someone else will detract from his livelihood, because you will invariably be called back to reclaim your place. That which is given to you is not a gift from others, but rather what is destined and designated for you from Heaven.”

Now, let me tell you a real story which follows these exact words above.

I remember one man finding himself in a difficult situation and approaching me about it. He really had done everything right, conducted himself honestly and sincerely, and was fortunate enough to strike an incredible deal. But then the unexpected happened.

Someone else undercut him, making the deal fall through and the potential for a huge windfall unravel. He wasn’t in position to outbid the other competitor, but that wasn’t what hurt most. The worst was that it was a local friend of his who outdid him. It felt like betrayal and disloyalty and was all too close to home.

“Rabbi, you got to speak to him. You got to tell him to back off!” As he said that, I wondered what I could do. In fact, at least I knew what I couldn’t do. “I know what you mean,” I said. “But you also know that it’s a free country and everybody is allowed to bid and outbid others. Did he do something wrong? If he did, take him to beit din. But if he didn’t, there isn’t much to do.” But he was still frazzled. So I told him the following.

“I have an old kabbalah (tradition) from my rabbi that when a person sees things falling apart in their life, instead of having your emunah crumble, double down on it. Maybe if your friend wins the bid, it means it wasn’t meant for you to have.” The fellow looked back at me. He was dejected and hopeless. “Do you have any books on emunah that you can recommend?” he finally asked. I recommended a few different ones. The first was Shaar HaBitachon (The Gate of Trust). I knew this to be the ultimate guide on trust in Hashem. In addition, there is a beautiful English book published with a running commentary and analysis from the Brisker Rav on bitachon, and I suggested that too. It has changed people’s lives. The man went out and bought the books and began learning them.

Sometime later, I saw him around in shul and he looked as calm and collected as ever. It was the first time in weeks that I’d seen him so happy. “You got the deal back?” I asked, feeling enthusiastic. “No,” he said. “I haven’t. But I’ve been reading that book, Rabbi, and you don’t know how much it’s helped. It’s taken a stone off my chest. I know that if the deal is meant to happen, it will; if not, not.” The man took to heart the truth that once he had done his all, there was nothing left for him to do. Now he needed to leave it to Hashem. “I let it go, Rabbi,” he said, simply.

“You know,” I said, reflecting in response, “I feel like Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe Rabbeinu told the Jews, ‘Stand and see the salvation of Hashem.’ Now you’re going to see what Hashem will do for you.”

A few days later, I got a call from him. “Rabbi, you won’t believe it. I got the deal back!” I couldn’t hold my enthusiasm in. “What happened?” “There was some kind of technical insurance that the other man needed to have in order to complete the documentation,” he explained. “One part of the deal required a specific insurance, and in order to obtain that insurance, it takes some time, and the sellers were not willing to push off their sell-by date. So they re-offered it to me. I didn’t need to do anything, and they on their own reached back out to me!”

“From here, Ben Azzai declared: “They will call your name and in your place, they will seat you, and from what is yours, they will give to you. No one touches that which is prepared for his friend.”

The truth of the Torah, the veracity of our Sages’ words. We need not look far to discover the true ways life works.

Rabbi Shlomo Landau

They’re Everywhere

During every waking moment of our life, we can fulfill mitzvot, and even while we sleep, we can do so too, by bearing in mind that our rest is for the purpose of awakening rejuvenated to better serve G-d. The first thing that leaves our lips in the morning is Modeh Ani. We then wash our hands and recite the blessing of Al Netilat Yadayim, followed by the blessing over learning Torah. We then wash for breakfast and recite another blessing before we eat.

Mitzvos are an opportunity for us to stop our monotony and elevate ourselves. It is a time when we can live our lives with more holiness. That is our challenge: how can we elevate our day-to-day existence?

It is only with focus. We are on a wonderful schedule of mitzvos that Hashem gave us. They are our opportunities to pause for a moment and infuse holiness into our lives.  

If we follow the schedule, our life will be lit up with holiness.

Rabbi Ari Bensoussan

Look Up to Them

What will be the guidepost for your children to grow into respectable and reputable Jewish men and women, who uphold high Torah standards and raise a Jewish family of their own?

When your eyes light up as you share with them stories about our gedolim, our Torah giants and sages.

Your children will be into what you are into. Do you remember how excited you were when you shared with your family and friends about your most recent vacation? You might be on your way to the car dealer to purchase the car you’ve been waiting so long for, and how excited are you? Your kids notice that, feel that, and take that in. That, in turn, is what will excite them and make their world turn.

Your eyes must glow when you talk about paragons of Torah value and virtue, of Torah character, scholarship and leadership. If they do, then your children will absorb the same respect and admiration for that lifestyle too.

Buy those gedolim books and begin to convey those stories to your children. Then find a tzaddik or two who speaks to you the most, whose life and legacy most profoundly and powerfully resonates with you, and order a beautiful picture of them and say, “This is the tzaddik that Abba really connects to! This is who Imma truly admires!”

One day, your children are going to make their own choices of which path to follow. And a large part of their decision is going to be based on the nature and nurture they’ve had in life. The nature of who they are and the nurture of what they received at home is going to influence their life decisions.

Ultimately, their choice will be their choice. But don’t lead a life of regret where you didn’t do everything you can to make sure that your child’s nurture was Torah felt. You’re not the biggest talmid chacham (Torah scholar)? That’s fine. But you can read an English book, become excited about our gedolim and give enthusiasm and life lessons over.

Our children need to know that there were giants in Torah who walked among us. Teach them, through real life stories and scenarios, that it’s possible to become that great, and that you – their own father and mother – look up to them.

Rabbi David Nakash

An Easy Decision

Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman was once invited to come to my home community and speak over the course of Shabbat. Excitedly, flyers were distributed, announcements were made, and preparations were undertaken. At the time, the Coronavirus was tapering off, so the prospect of having a wonderful, uplifting Shabbat was that much greater.

Rabbi Wachsman had planned on eating one of the Shabbat meals at my home, and as such, I readied my home and planned on everything I could imagine that would contribute to his comfortable stay.

The day before Rabbi Wachsman was expected to arrive, the Coronavirus saw a spike in numbers in our community. Many families were concerned about leaving their homes and being in shul, with rumors beginning to circulate what should be done within the community for that Shabbat.

The next day, Friday morning, Rabbi Wachsman cancelled. I did my best to reach out to those who were close to Rabbi Wachsman and perhaps convince him otherwise. Until I received a call. It was Rabbi Wachsman himself.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision for me to cancel for even a moment,” Rabbi Wachsman said. I was shocked to hear those words. Of all things, I assumed he would have said exactly the opposite. After having poured in so much effort and resources, cancelling it was certainly not a light decision.

“I know,” continued Rabbi Wachsman, “that my coming to your community would stir up a lot of rumors and talking between people, and it could very likely lead to lashon hara and hurtful remarks. My attendance would thus not be a kavod Shamayim, honor of Hashem. And if it won’t be a kavod shamayim, it’s an easy decision. I am sure that everyone has prepared a lot, there is a lot of publicity, and many people are excited. But all of that makes no difference in light of the fact that it would not bring honor to Hashem. That is the only question to ask: will my attendance bring people close to Hashem? Judging by the circumstances, the risk is that it would contribute to the opposite result. And so, I knew exactly what I needed to do.”

Powerful words. And a powerful lesson for life.

Rabbi Meir Simcha Sperling

Can I Enjoy Life?

A man once asked me, “Are Jews allowed to drive fancy cars?” I looked at him confused. “What do you mean?” “Are Jews allowed to enjoy life?” he asked, clarifying his question. “Who said Jews aren’t allowed to enjoy life?” I asked, again surprised. But he didn’t understand.

We have taste buds, we see colors, we can touch things. Why do we have such senses if not because G-d wants us to enjoy this world. So yes, you can drive a fancy car. Use your intelligence and align your life according to the guidance of the Torah and your respected rabbis, but of course you can enjoy life. Hashem wants you to.

Just do it with Hashem. Do it with a connection to G-d.

Our life could change if we live with this message. Right now, change your day. If you’re about to eat something, have in mind that you’re eating it so you can serve Hashem.

Make the change, because if you do, your life will change.

Rabbi Meyer Bodner

The Secret Channel

Yossi had just purchased a commercial building, containing a number of different offices. He hoped to rent them out, and turn a profit. But meeting the challenge many building owners experience, no one wanted to rent out any space. What to do now? He was paying a nice mortgage, aside from which the upkeep was a pretty penny. On top of this, the air conditioning bill was through the roof. Monthly, he was running into huge bills, and no money was coming in.

“On the first day of Tammuz,” a friend of Yossi explained, “it’s the yaartzeit of the Ma’or Va’Shemesh, Rav Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein zt”l. It’s known that if you light a candle and daven to Hashem in the merit of the Ma’or Va’Shemesh, it’s an auspicious practice to be granted a yeshua (salvation). Lighting a candle and relating stories about the tzaddik are both great ways of invoking Hashem’s compassion. But what’s even more, when you relay Torah insights from the tzaddik, his lips move in his grave (Yevamos 97a). Such a gesture brings about immense spiritual light and blessing to the world and your life.”

So Yossi decided to do just that. He took hold of the sefer from the Ma’or Va’Shemesh, and at random opened to the following insight.

The Torah states, “You shall serve Hashem your G-d, and He will bless your bread and water, and remove any sickness from among you” (Shemos 23:25). The Ma’or Va’Shemesh asks: the Torah switches in this Pasuk from the plural to the singular tense. First it states, “V’avad’tem—and you shall serve” in the plural. But then it changes and says that Hashem will bless “your bread and your water” in the singular tense. Why did the Torah switch?

The Ma’or Va’Shemesh explains it simply. The word V’avad’tem, and you shall serve, refers to avodah she’b’lev, a reference to prayer (Taanis 2a). It is used in the plural because it is speaking about someone who davens in a minyan with others. When a person davens as part of a tzibbur, his prayer contains much greater if potency than had he davened alone. In turn, Hashem will bless “your bread and your water.”

Yossi couldn’t believe what he was reading. He knew it wasn’t coincidence, and he didn’t take the message for granted. Yossi rarely, if ever, went to minyan, and this was a wake-up call. It hit him that sometimes we get carried away with our work and business, believing that if we work harder and longer hours, that will give us the financial return we seek. But the truth is otherwise. More personal effort doesn’t spell more success. More reliance on Hashem through the channel of tefillah with a minyan does.

So, right then and there, Yossi decided he’d attend every minyan. His friends tried knocking him with a dose of reality. “Start slowly,” they said. “Try making it to one minyan a day, and work from there.” But Yossi was dedicated and committed, and come what may, he’d be at a minyan for davening. He booked flights in such a way that he’d be able to catch every minyan, and did everything possible to never miss. It became his iron-clad commitment.

Within two months, he began signing leases on his building and started breaking even.

But it’s not over.

One year later, to the day, on the yaartzeit of the Ma’or Va’Shemesh, he signed his last two leases. Every single office had been filled in the building.

That’s what happens when you make a minyan. The effect of your prayers aren’t just a little better; they’re a lot better.

Picture of newsletter
100% free

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

Timely Torah insights, stories, and anecdotes from your favorite TorahAnytime speakers, delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Your email is safe with us. We don't spam.