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KorachRead / Listen to Portion
The blossoming of Aaron’s staff is the definitive sign that indicates God’s choice of Aaron. But what is it really? A staff is nothing but a dead branch of wood, a dry and lifeless stick. When the staff blossoms and brings forth buds, producing almonds, it is coming back to life.
Contention against leadership is contagious, and contentious people work hard to convince their companions to join their cause. Congregational rebellions often start in small study groups, special project committees, or volunteer crews where a single, discontent laymen can publish his gripe against the leadership and raise sympathizers.
Though Dathan and Abiram accused Moses of arrogance, he was actually the most humble man on earth. At the burning bush, he had argued with God against his appointment, and he only reluctantly stepped into the role of prophet and redeemer. It was not that Moses had poor self-esteem; he simply had an accurate assessment of his own worth before God.
Contention against leadership is contagious, and contentious people work hard to convince their companions to join their cause. Korah's initial grievances against Moses and Aaron had nothing to do with the Reubenites, but through frequent conversation and the subtle manipulation of ideas, Korah was able to draw his neighbors into sedition.
That same staff also is destined to be held in the hand of King Messiah (may he come speedily in our days), as it says [in Psalm 110:2], “The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’” (Numbers Rabbah 18:23)