Torah Portion

Korach

קורח

Numbers 16:1-18:32
First Samuel 11:14–12:22

The Flowering Staff: Proof of Aaron’s or the Levites’ Election?

The Flowering Staff: Proof of Aaron’s or the Levites’ Election?

The story of the flowering staff in its current form and context, confirms YHWH’s previous designation of the Aaronides as priests. Originally, however, the story presented YHWH’s selection of the tribe of Levi as his priestly caste.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Fire Pans in the Bible and Archaeology

Fire Pans in the Bible and Archaeology

Fire pans (maḥtot) are listed as part of the Tabernacle’s accessories for the menorah and the altar. They also play an important role in the stories of Korah’s rebellion and the death of Nadav and Avihu as incense censors. Archaeological excavations have uncovered what these items were and how they functioned.

Dr.
Raz Kletter
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Aaron’s Flowering Staff: A Priestly Asherah?

Aaron’s Flowering Staff: A Priestly Asherah?

The story of Aaron’s staff reads like an etiological tale, explaining a holy object in the Temple. The description of the object as a stylized tree suggests a connection with the asherah, a ritual object forbidden by Deuteronomy.

Dr.
Raanan Eichler
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Korah's Poetic Rebellion and God's Flowery Response

Korah's Poetic Rebellion and God's Flowery Response

A new analysis of compositional layers suggests that God responds to Korah’s rebellion with patience and beauty—until someone changed the ending.

Dr.
Jason Gaines
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The Bronze Plating of the Altar: Numbers Versus Exodus

The Bronze Plating of the Altar: Numbers Versus Exodus

After Korah’s failed rebellion, God commands Elazar to plate the altar with the bronze firepans of the two hundred and fifty tribal leaders (Num 17). But didn’t Bezalel already plate the altar in bronze as God commanded when it was first built (Exod 27 and 38)?

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Datan and Abiram: A Rebellion of the Shepherds in the Land of Israel

Datan and Abiram: A Rebellion of the Shepherds in the Land of Israel

The biblical text is unclear about why Datan and Abiram are rebelling. A careful look at their words shows that they are complaining about the land they are already living in.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Making Ma'aser Work for the Times

Making Ma'aser Work for the Times

In Leviticus and Numbers, ma’aser (tithing) refers to a Temple tax; in Deuteronomy, however, it refers either to what must be brought and consumed on a pilgrimage festival or to charity. This dichotomy led the rabbis to design the cumbersome system of the first and second tithes (maaser rishon and maaser sheni).

Dr. Rabbi
Zev Farber
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The Historical Circumstances that Inspired the Korah Narrative

The Historical Circumstances that Inspired the Korah Narrative

Korah’s rebellion ultimately results in the placement of the Levites in a permanent subordinate position to the Aaronide priests. Set in the wilderness period, the story appears to be a narrative retelling of a historical process that occurred hundreds of years later, the demotion of the Levites reflected in Ezek 44, as demonstrated by a number of literary parallels.

Dr.
Ely Levine
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Why the Fire-Pans Were Used to Plate the Altar

Why the Fire-Pans Were Used to Plate the Altar

After the two hundred and fifty tribal leaders, led by Korah, were burnt, God tells Elazar to use the fire-pans to plate the altar to remind Israel that only priests may offer incense (Num 17:5). But is this the original reason for the plating? A redaction-critical analysis shows that the story once had a different purpose in mind.

Dr. Rabbi
David Frankel
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Korach

קורח

Numbers 16:1-18:32

...וְהִנֵּה פָּרַח מַטֵּה אַהֲרֹן לְבֵית לֵוִי וַיֹּצֵא פֶרַח וַיָּצֵץ צִיץ וַיִּגְמֹל שְׁקֵדִים

במדבר יז:כג

...and there the staff of Aaron of the house of Levi had sprouted: it had brought forth sprouts, produced blossoms, and borne almonds.

Num 17:23

Numbers

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