Korach: ‘Small’ Miracles

(via Pexels / Tanya Gorelova)
(via Pexels / Tanya Gorelova)

In the Torah portion, Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32), the ground opens up and swallows rebels, insurrectionists are immolated from a Heavenly fire, and a desiccated stick miraculously blossoms – all to show God’s power and God’s chosen leaders. Then, in the Haftarah (I Samuel 11:14-12:22), God sends a storm – for the exact same purpose. In the time of Moses and Aaron, the leaders were extraordinary prophets, and the miracles defied nature. In the time of Samuel, the announced leader was to be an ordinary king, like that of any other nation, and the miracle was nature – a storm, albeit out of season. We don’t need the ground to open up or the sea to part to stand in awe of Creation and God’s miracles. A thunderstorm, a flesh-and-blood leader who will follow Torah principles, are miracles enough.

About the Author
Debra Orenstein, rabbi of Congregation B'nai Israel in Emerson, NJ, is an acclaimed teacher, author, and scholar-in-residence. She is editor of Lifecycles 1:Jewish Women on Life Passages and Personal Milestones and Lifecycles 2: Jewish Women on Biblical Themes in Contemporary Life (Jewish Lights). A seventh generation rabbi, she was in the first rabbinical class at The Jewish Theological Seminary to include women. She earned a Certificate in Positive Psychology and teaches online. Visit to learn more.
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