July 16, 2024 ~ Shabbat BALAQ. Maqam MAHOUR.

Shabbat Qorah - שבת קרח


Qorah-Huqat Combined?

קרח חקת מחוברות - In Aleppo, there was an old custom of combining Qorah with Huqat almost every year. Some elders say that Qorah-Huqat was instituted in order to avoid communal conflicts that occurred as a result of reading Qorah alone; a perasha filled with conflict. H Ya'aqob Attia A"H said that Huqat should not be read alone because the Targum translates "Zot Huqat HaTora" as "Da Gezerat Orayta" (decrees). In order to avoid negative events associated with reading Huqat alone, Huqat is combined with Qorah. Once Aleppo Jews arrived to New York, however, they were influenced by non-Aleppian rabbis who discouraged this custom. In the Aleppo communities of Panama and São Paulo, they also discontinued the custom. Aleppo communities in Buenos Aires and Mexico City, however, influenced by Aleppo-born rabbis, currently continue the custom of reading Qorah-Huqat combined on years when other Jews combine Huqat-Balaq. Tiqqun Highlights, Beth Torah Bulletin, July 6, 2019.


ויקח קרח בן יצהר בן קהת בן לוי - The question is raised, why, in the genealogy of Qorah (Numbers 16:1), is the name of Jacob, father of Levi, omitted? Rashi suggests, based on Midrash Tanhuma, Qorah 4, this is because Jacob's parting words to Levi was "with their assembly, do not bring my (Jacob's) glory" (Genesis 49:6). What he meant by this is that if there are ever controversies, problems, or quarrels associated with Simeon or Levi, Jacob wants to be disassociated from it and does not his name to be acknowledged as their father. Jacob's wish of being disassociated, though, only applies to when there are negative developments in relation to his descendants. To contrast this, in positive developments of Qorah's descendants, such as their participation in the activities of the "Dukhan" in the Beit HaMiqdash, then Jacob's name is mentioned. As it says in Dibre Hayamim, "... the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Qorah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel" (I Chronicles 6:22—23). Beth Torah Bulletin, June 27, 2020.

Bad Neighbors

ואון בן פלת בני ראובן - In an effort to solicit supporters, Qorah, a Levite from the Qehat clan, recruits his neighbors, members of the tribe of Reuben; both whose camps were located south of the Tabernacle. Among the Reubenites was On Ben Pelet; mentioned once in Numbers 16:1, but then never again. In speculation of his mysterious absence, the Midrash explains what may have happened to him. Initially, On was recruited by Qorah, his neighbor, due to his family links with Datan and Abiram. But then, On's wife insists that On withdraws; saying that he had absolutely nothing to gain from any involvement. Her wisdom of neutrality is what saved On from suffering the same fate as Datan and Abiram. This story teaches about the importance of הרחק משכן רע; distancing oneself from a bad neighbor (Abot 1:7). One should always try to stay away from negative influences and those who will bring you down. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 24, 2017.

Not One Donkey

לא חמור אחד מהם נשאתי - We learn throughout the Torah of the importance of treating others with respect. One way of showing this trait is by fair financial transactions with others. When it comes to kings throughout the world, they typically had no problem taking possessions from their subjects as they see fit. Israel's leader, Moses, however, respects his people so much that he is extremely careful not to take even the slightest favors from any of them. That is why when faced with rejection by 250 distinguished community leaders, he is dumbfounded. "I have not done bad to them," he says to God, "not a single donkey have I taken from any of them" (Numbers 16:15). This brief statement illustrates that Moses is careful in how he conducts himself and holds himself accountable for all of his interactions. We can learn from Moses' example of the importance of respecting others through being very careful in all financial interactions. Beth Torah Bulletin, June 16, 2018.

Maqam of the Week: NAHWAND or HOSENI

On Shabbat Qorah (Numbers 16:1- 18:32), Maqam NAHWAND is applied to the prayers according to SUHV (Red Pizmonim Book). This maqam, used to mark conflict, is selected here, as we read about Qorah's rebellion. It should be noted that most sources, including H Moshe Ashear, cite Maqam HOSENI for either Shabbat Qorah alone, or Qorah-Huqat combined. PIZMON SEFER TORAH: Ma Navu Ragle Mebaser (page 133); in this song, there is mention of Aharon's staff budding and blooming.