osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

And now an obscure rant -- I am tired of Korach logic

I am tired of Korach logic dominating our public discourse.

For those unfamiliar with what I mean, Korach was the great demagogue of the Children of Israel who challenged Moses for being too "elitist." The midrash records several examples of Korach and his arguments to show how Moshe was an irrational tyrant bent on controlling everyone's lives for his own power and glory and for the wealth of his brother Aaron. for example, from Midrash Rabbah:

What is written immediately before this incident? "Speak to the children of Israel and tell them to make tzitzit," Korach jumped up and said to Moshe. "You told us to put tchelet on the tzitzit, tell me if the garment is entirely made up of tchelet, would such a garment require tzitzit." Moses replied, "Yes it would require tzitzit." Korach answered, "You mean that four strings of tchelet can allow you to wear another garment, but a garment made of tchelet cannot be exempted from this restriction?"

Korach asked, "What about a house filled with Torahs does it require a mezuza or not?" Moses answered, "It requires a mezuza." Korach replied, "You mean four little portions of parchment allow someone to live in their house, but a house filled with books still requires these four pieces of parchment?"

or this from Yalkut Shimoni:

Korach was a comedian, who made jest of Moses and Aaron. What did he do? He gathered the entire congregation, and began to say to them words of jest. He said: A widow with two orphan girls, who lived in my neighborhood, had a single field. When she came to plow it, and Moses said to her: "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and a donkey together" (Deuteronomy 22:10). When she came to sow, Moses said to her: "Thou shalt not sow your field with mixed seed" (Leviticus 19:19). She came to harvest and make bundles, and he said: Leave behind leket ("gleanings"), shikchah ("forgotten bundles") and pe'ah (unharvested "edge of field"--cf. ibid. v. 9; Deuteronomy 24:19). She came to make her silo, and he said: Give terumah (the portion "uplifted" for the kohen), first tithe and second tithe. She accepted the law and gave him. So what did this poor woman do? She sold her field and bought two sheep, to clothe herself from their shearings and profit from their offspring. No sooner had they given birth, that Aaron came and said to her: Give me the firstborn, for so has G-d said to me, "All firstborn... you shall sanctify to G-d" (Deuteronomy 15:19). She accepted the law and gave them to him. The shearing season arrived and she sheared them; comes Aaron and says: Give me the first shearings, for so said G-d, "And the first shearings of your sheep you shall give to him" (ibid. 18:4). Said she: I have no more strength for this man! I shall slaughter them and eat them! As sooner had she slaughtered them, he said to her: Give me the foreleg, the cheeks and the belly! (cf. ibid. v. 3). Said she: Even having slaughtered them, I have nor saved them from him! I proclaim them sacrosanct! said he to her: If so, all is mine, for so said G-d: "All things declared sacrosanct in Israel shall belong to you" (Numbers 18:14). He took them and went his way, leaving her weeping. This is what happened to this poor woman. All this they do, and attribute it to G-d...

or this from Midrash Rabbah:
Korach said to them: All heard at Sinai the commandment, "I am the L-rd your G-d"! If you alone had heard it while they had not, you could have claimed superiority. But now that they have all heard it, "Why do you raise yourselves above the congregation of G-d?"

Public debate seems to me to have become perverted with Korach logic. I am tired of it.

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