Kenneth Cohen

Entitlement and humility

There are two words that tell a great deal about a person’s character. These words are “entitlement” and “humility.” Korach’s downfall came about because of his feelings of entitlement. Aharon’s appointment as Kohein Hagadol was because of his humility.

Korach felt entitled to the position of High Priest since he descended from the esteemed family of Kehat. Just like his cousin, Aharon, he was the oldest male offspring to his father, Yitzhar. He also knew by way of Ruach Hakkdesh that the Prophet Shmuel, would descend from him, and he was on the level of Moshe and Aharon.

All of these feelings of entitlement made Korach crazy. He led a disgraceful rebellion which led to his demise. And by the way, it was said that Korach was the wealthiest man in the world.

Aharon epitomized humility in every way. We see how he humbly accepted his fate when his two sons were killed. And we saw how his humility did not allow him to have an ounce of jealousy towards his younger brother Moshe’s success. He and Moshe were mentioned as איש אחד בלב אחד, “One man and one heart.”

So much can be learned from Korach and Aharon. One’s sense of entitlement gives him no rest or peace of mind. He is never satisfied and always feels that he has more coming to him.

The humble person is happy with his lot in life. He realizes that everything he has is a gift from Hashem. Nobody owes him anything. He is overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for the abundant undeserved kindness he has received from Hashem. He is happy and at peace and does not allow himself to harbor feelings of jealousy towards anyone.

It should be clear that we must emulate Aharon and his humility. And we must stay far away from the Korachs of the world, who live by their feelings of entitlement. What an incredibly value lesson this is, for all of us!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at