Kenneth Cohen

Selfish people cannot be happy

The Torah tells us that when Moshe Rabbeinu heard all of the claims that were made against him, he fell on his face.

The Talmud in Masechet Sanhedrin asked what exactly did Moshe hear? The answer is that they accused him of having relations with married women. It may have been a response of disbelief at how low his detractors would go at trying to discredit him.

In Jewish law, if there is a dispute, and one side says, “I am not an evil person,” this is an indication that he is accusing the other side of being evil.

When Korach told Moshe that the entire nation is holy, he was implying that Moshe was not holy. But there is also the consideration that often when one accuses someone else of wrongdoing, they are actually the ones doing that which they are accusing others about.

It is well known that Chazal tell us that קדושה, holiness, is found when one is careful not to violate any of the laws connected with sexual immorality.

Therefore, when Korach and his cronies made these serious accusations against Moshe, it implied that they were guilty of these very accusations.

Psychologists might say that a clear indication of the narcissistic personality is that typically, the narcissist accuses others of the very thing for which he is carrying guilt. It would not be wrong to say that Korach was the classic narcissist. He only saw himself and satisfying his own needs without being able to realize the damage of such self gratification.

A selfish person can never find happiness or peace of mind. Like so many people, Korach had so much to be grateful for. But he allowed himself to succumb to his personality flaws. How sad it is when an individual self destructs!

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