Parshas Korach 5777
Candle Lighting Time: 8:15 pm
June 23, 2017
Volume 13 Issue 24
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Dvar Torah

Bad Hair Today
By Rabbi Yisroel Schwartz  
Korach's name is spelled with three letters: kuf, reish, and cheis. In the common Hebrew vernacular, these same three letters refer to a bald person. Assuming that this is not a coincidence, what is the parallel between Korach and a bald person? Rabbi Yitzchak Feldheim shares an interesting thought. The mold for every human being is similar, i.e. we all have two eyes, two ears, a nose, mouth, etc. These distinct features are permanent and we cannot adjust them. We cannot form or change our physical bodies. We may be able to enhance them by adding certain accessories, such as clothing and jewelry, but the actual body stays the same. Hair, however, is unique that it can be styled and altered to our wishes. For example, we could cut our hair short or grow it long. We can color and style our hair in any way, shape, or form. Hair allows us the opportunity to express ourselves. Bald people do not have this opportunity of expression.
These two aspects, our nonadjustable bodies and our changeable hair, signify two aspects of our communities. Our bodies have the same mold in order to signify that we have to come together and form one unifi ed body, yet we each have our own unique personality and way of expression that we choose for ourselves. We should not get lost in the general assembly of the community; we should rather add our own twist to the klal with our distinct personalities. Hair, which we can shape to suit our personal wants, symbolizes this last aspect.
Korach wanted to prevent the individuals from adding their unique contribution to the public. He argued, ""For the entire assembly, all of them, are holy and Hashem is among them; why do you exalt yourselves over the congregation of Hashem?" (Bamidbar 16:3). According to Korach, there was no need for a hierarchy. Hashem was among all of them equally. No one individual added or could add more to Klal Yisroel than another. Essentially, Korach was stripping them of their individual identities.
Just as a bald person cannot style his hairs to express himself, Korach claimed that the Jews have no individuality that needs to be expressed. For this reason, Korach shares the same letters as a bald person.
Korach is a lesson to us all. We must not forget that as individuals, we are the rarest species on Earth. There is only one of us. Granted, there are over fi ve billion people in the human race, but each one of us has something that the other does not, making each person into a unique entity.

Dvar Halacha
Laws of Being Dan L'Kaf Zechus II
By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

As mentioned last week one has an obligation to judge the action of a fellow Jew "fairly." Depending on what type of person was doing the questionable action will determine what is considered "fair" and "accurate." The different groups are broken up as follows:

A Ya'rei Elokim or a Tzaddik (righteous person) [i.e. someone who is known to always act correctly in a certain area of halachah and interpersonal relationships]: In all cases, even if one sees him performing an action that can either be judged l'chovah (guilty) or l'zechus (innocent); or even if it appears negative and almost impossible that it was l'zechus, there is a positive commandment to assume that it was performed l'zechus. The Gemara [Brachos 19b] teaches, that even if one sees a Ya'rei Elokim etc. unquestionably violate an aveirah, one has to assume he did teshuvah, except in cases where the aveirah is related to taking someone else's money.

Rasha (wicked person) [i.e. someone who is known to always act incorrectly in a certain area of halacha and interpersonal relationships]: In all cases, even if the action strongly appears as if he is doing it l'zechus one is obligated to view it as if he performed it l'chovah. Harav Mattisyahu Salomon, shlit"a, points out that we see this idea in the Torah. Both Lavan and Eisav did an action that appeared to be good [kissing and hugging Yaakov Avinu], yet Chazal viewed it l'raah, that it was done for ulterior motives] (Sefer Matnas Chelko, Shaarei Teshuva 3:218).

Beino'nee (average person) [i.e. someone who is committed to acting correctly and avoiding transgression in a certain area of halacha, but sometimes errs]: In a case where his action can be judged either way, one is obligated to judge him l'zechus. However, if it something which seems near impossible to be l'zechus, then according to the ikar din (pure letter of the law), one may judge him l'chova. However, it is nachon m'ode (very appropriate) to leave it as a "safek" (doubt), i.e. not to conclude it is l'chova, and it is midas chasidus (act of piety) to judge him l'zechus.

If one does not recognize the person who performed the questionable action: One is not obligated to judge him favorably. However, it is an act of piety to judge him favorably in all cases (Sefer Chafetz Chaim, Introduction, Positive Commandments 3).

It is important to note, that since different areas of a person's behavior are independent of each other and are not always consistent, a person may very well be a "Tzaddik" in a certain mitzvah, a "Beino'nee" in a different area, and a "Rasha" in something else. (The Torah's Guidelines for Interpersonal Relationships [based on shiurim of Rabbi Yitzchok Berkowitz, shlit"a] Vol. 1 pg. 11).

We see this particular mitzvah can be very difficult to keep. Is it realistic to always judge fairly? Someone once asked Harav Yitzchok Hutner, zt"l, "We know people possess many different middos (character attributes) that can either be used for good or for bad. What is the positive attribute of the midah of "krumkeit" [some people view the world in a very twisted way]"? Rav Hutner answered, "In order to be m'kaiyaim the mitzvas m'doraisa of Don L'kaf Zechus. Sometimes the only way to view something in a positive light is by completely turning it around!

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