Kenneth Cohen

Wealth Can Be a Detriment

The Baal Haturim pointed out that the word, ״יקום״ meaning, “existence,” is used describing the demise of the generation of the flood. The word, יקום, is also used applying to Korach. The ״יקום״ of this evil man also ceased to exist. Our sages found a parallel between the two. They said that just as the generation of the flood sinned when given an abundance of goodness, the same applied to Korach, who was given an abundance of wealth.

There is a verse in Kohelet that says, עושר שמור לבעליו לרעתו, that wealth is provided to its owners, to their detriment. We learn a principle that an individual has a tendency to rebel against G-d when he is filled up. People with wealth and comfort, foolishly believe that they are safe and invincible. They do not need to reach out to Hashem to provide for their sustenance. They already have it. Only after some unforeseen, difficult situation, do they realize how vulnerable they are.

We must never forget for a moment that every aspect of our existence, is only because of the good graces of G-d. We are owed nothing, and all that we have is a Divine gift. We need to be reminded of this when we study the results of those who thought they knew better, and rebelled against G-d.

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