Why did Korach deserve such a strong punishment?
And the answer is like this: When you do a favor to a fellow Jew, Hakodosh Boruch Hu rewards you, no matter who that Jew is. But suppose that fellow Jew is a very great tzaddik, you get much more reward. You remember when Yisro heard about a Mitzri who helped his daughters? איש מצרי הצילנו – “He saved us”, his daughters said. “A Mitzri helped us out.” So Yisro said, קראן לו ויאכל לחם – “Call call him in; invite him to eat.” Now, Yisro didn’t know who he was; he didn’t know it was Moshe Rabeinu but it states that because Yisro gave Moshe bread to eat, he was rewarded greatly forever and ever. So, if you do a kindliness to a great man, you’ll be more richly rewarded by Hashem.
So let’s say, you have one dollar to give to tzedakah. You can give it, let’s say, to a poor fellow on the street or you can give it to a poor ben Torah. A ben Torah is much more important. I once heard a man say, “Why give it to a ben Torah? You’re partial to bnei Torah?” The answer is, yes we are partial to bnei Torah. Absolutely! Because Hakodosh Boruch Hu is partial to them.
I remember there was a big argument against the roshei yeshivos. At the time of the Va’ad Hatzalah when they were saving Jews from Europe, the rosh yeshivos were bringing over bnei Torah. So a man told me, “Roshei yeshivos, because they are partial to bnei Torah, that’s why they’re bringing over bnei Torah.”
So I said, “Whom else should they bring over?! Certainly the bnei Torah they should bring over! If you have only a few visas to save the lives, no question, they’re first! What’s the shailah?! Hakodosh Boruch Hu wants them.”
And therefore, if you start up with a nobody, if you talk loshon hara on a plain nobody, it’s wrong; it’s a cheit. But if you talk loshon hara on a tzaddik, oh no, it’s much worse. שונאי צדיק יאשמו – If you hate a tzaddik, you’ll be held very very guilty.
So if you want to talk loshon hara – of course it’s best not to say anything – but if you must, choose bums. Don’t choose tzaddikim. Don’t chose frum Jews. ועמך כולם צדיקים. All frum Jews are tzaddikim. Frum Jews are sacrificing for Torah. It costs them schar limud for their children. They could send them to public schools. They’re laboring to pay huge amounts of money for schar limud, for tuition, so they deserve credit for that. ועמך כולם צדיקים – The Jewish nation of frum Jews are all tzadikim. Don’t talk on Jews; no.
And therefore when Korach started up with Moshe Rabbeinu he chose the very worst man to start up with. Had he been suspicious, let’s say of a little fellow there, of the son of the Ish Mitzri – there was an Ish Mitzri that had a son there; had he started up with him, it wouldn’t be a mitzvah, but still he wouldn’t be in the ground. But because he started up with Moshe Rabbeinu and he spoke against him — and he was dan l’kaf chovah – that was a very great mistake.
TAPE # 950