Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman
In this week’s Torah portion, Korach leads a rebellion against Moshe and challenges his authority. Rashi quotes a Midrash that relates two questions which Korach and his followers brought before Moshe. One, if a house is filled with seforim, does one need a mezuzah? To this question Moshe answered yes. Second, if one wears an article of clothing that is made of techailes (a bluish dye), does one need to still have a string of techailes in their tzitzis? Again, Moshe’s answer was yes.
These questions were asked to mock Moshe. Really, does one need a mezuzah as a reminder of G-d and His mitzvos if one’s house is full of seforim? Does one need the little blue string of techailes if the entire garment has it? At first glance, Korach and his followers seem to be correct. What is the point of a reminder when you have so much more in front of you? The queries posed were questioning Moshe’s leadership role. If we, the Jewish people, are a holy people, why do we need a leader? Why does Moshe need to govern us?
However, their logic was flawed. True, they were all on a very high spiritual level. They had all lived lives in the desert seeing clearly the hand of G-d. Still, even with that experience, one can’t rely on just going with the flow and following the crowd. One needs a leader to guide one to the right path. One can’t rely on the popular vote because very often that vote is tainted with an agenda which is not in line with the values that one really needs to be living by. We as Jews rely heavily on Mesorah, tradition and a value system, which has been handed down from generation to generation from Rabbi to Rabbi, starting with Moshe. It is imperative that we recognize that leadership and humble ourselves to that eternal Mesorah. Life isn’t just about learning Torah; it is about living it. To understand that living, we need role models to guide us on that path. Left up to ourselves and the general masses, it is very likely that we can lose sight of our mission. This is an important message for life. As the Mishna in Pirkei Avos states, “Make for yourself a Rav.” This means – Find him, follow him, and ultimately take those lessons to heart in following the chain of Mesorah.