This week’s Torah portion, Korach, arrives as what seems to be an intervention from the Most High. It serves as a brutally disturbing reminder of the devastation wrought by the corrupt human lust for power. God knows we weren’t in need of it, for we are living witnesses to its catastrophic casualties.
Korach and his co-conspirators, Datan and Aviram, plan and execute a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, God’s chosen leaders. Moses is deeply perplexed by their act of sedition and insists that the matter be brought before God. Each party is to bring fire pans and incense as a test of holiness, and the one supreme judge, God, the Dayan Ha’emet, will render a decision.
The rebellion doesn’t end well for Korach and his followers. The Torah teaches that they are swallowed up by the earth, some are burned, still others are struck by plague.
We who cherish our American Democracy, our way of life, our personal, and yes, our religious freedoms, are under attack by a profound and potentially far-reaching rebellion. Led by those whose lust for power, as it must, ignores the needs and just freedoms provided by our democracy.
What do we do? How do we respond? Later this summer the Torah will implore us with this eternal dictum: Tzedek, tzedek tir’dof: Justice! Justice shall you pursue!
As Jews we are commanded to avail ourselves of every avenue of justice, without relenting. We do so as Americans, and as Jews, all in the service of our highest ideals, of what is just. All in the protection of our Democratic freedoms. So help us God.