In this week's sidra, Moses confronts a series of interrelated rebellions. Korah, a Levite, and a group of Reubenites along with two-hundred-fifty other prominent Israelites voice their discontent at being excluded from the religious leadership of the people. They express their resentment toward Aaron, the High Priest, and accuse Moses of unfulfilled promises.
God causes the earth to open; Korah, his two ringleaders and their families descend into the abyss. A fire consumes the two -hundred- fifty Israelites who made common cause with Korah. The people react angrily against Moses, blaming him for the deaths of so many men of renown. As punishment for holding Moses responsible for these deaths, a plague breaks out killing 14,700 before Aaron can perform rites and offer prayers of intervention.
A final vindication of Aaron's claim to the priesthood occurs when the princes of all the tribes are asked to deposit their staffs before the ark in the Sanctuary. The following morning Aaron's rod alone has produced blossoms, buds and almonds. Aaron's staff was then preserved beside the ark as a sign for generations to come.
With the priests' and the Levites' positions confirmed, the Torah now stipulates which sacrifices were to be designated for the maintenance of the priests, and allocates a tithe on all produce for the Levites. These benefits are in compensation for the priests and the Levites not receiving any real property in the apportionment of the Land of Israel among the tribes.