There are three people who are the focus of this week’s dramatic parasha Korach: Moses, Aaron and the portion’s namesake, Korach. Korach, the great grandson of Levi, decides to challenge the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Korach and his followers organize a rebellion in an attempt to oust Moses from power and successfully persuade 250 elected Israelite leaders to join them in questioning Moses’ leadership in a public forum. How could any individual challenge the authority of the greatest liberator Israel has ever known?
Nonetheless, Korach and company have some serious concerns and rally the people together by claiming that Moses and Aaron are essentially unfit for continuing to lead the people. In response, Moses summons the rebels to appear in the midst of the Israelites where God’s wrath descends upon them, the rebellious ones are consumed and God seeks to punish the community for their treatment of Moses and Aaron. At this point God commands the brothers: “Remove yourselves from this community, that I may annihilate them in an instant.” What was Moses’ response? Amazingly, Moses disobeys God and tries to help his stiff-necked, rebellious people.
Although Moses easily could have distanced himself from the community at that moment, he stands by to help his people in a display of resilience. Studies show that resilience–the ability to bounce back when bad things happen–is what separates people who flourish from those who flounder in stressful situations, whether it is dealing with a bad grade, a lost job, or something more serious, like death or divorce. This tendency is especially accentuated in children. Children often do not have the experience to realize that when something bad happens, it is not the end of their world. Children develop a can-do attitude mainly through hands-on practice. Whenever possible, we need to encourage our children to figure out their own solutions. It is natural that most parents want to protect their children from sadness and stress but the truth is, standing by their side and letting them figure out the problem themselves is a huge step in their character development (and ours!)
As always, Susan, Atara, Micah and Elan join me in wishing you a Shabbat Shalom from our home to yours!
-Rabbi Joseph Krakoff