Friday 1 Tammuz, 5781 / June 11, 2021 Korach Issue #132
Friday, June 11, 2021
Light Candles at 9:04 pm
Shabbos Ends on June 12th at 10:16 pm
One step at a time
In this week's Torah portion, Korach, we read of Korach's questioning and eventually rebelling against Moses and G-d. Korach's first question to Moses was, "Does a garment made completely of turquoise wool still require a single turquoise thread in its tzitzit-fringes?"
Moses's answer was "yes." Korach believed Moses's response was absurd.
Why the commandment for one strand of turquoise wool in the tzitzit? The Talmud explains because turquoise is a spiritual color. It resembles the oceans and the heavens, reminding a human being of G-d's majesty.
In truth, Korach and Moses debated the nature of spiritual leadership, the question of how to inspire human beings toward idealism and holiness.
Korach believed that you need to overwhelm people with the magic and majesty of your message. Let their entire "garment," their entire identity, become all-turquoise, melting completely in the "blue" of heaven.
Moses disagreed; to let people's spirits soar is splendid, but never enough. For inspiration to leave a lasting impact, it must find expression in individual specific acts, words and thoughts. To make a real transformation in people's lives, you must give them a single act through which they can connect to G-d and bring His morality into the world on a daily basis. You need to inspire people to make one strand of their lives blue.
This was an argument about what should become the great emphasis of Judaism. According to Korach, Judaism was about awakening a passion to revolutionize the universe. But Moses understood that in order to accomplish this goal, the primary focus of Judaism needed to be on individual daily behavior, changing the world one mitzva (commandment) at a time.
Korach's message seemed logical. If we can electrify a soul with a passion for making the world a G-dly place, is the individual mitzva ultimately relevant? Let us talk about changing people and changing the world, not about small individual acts!
Korach felt that Moses was misrepresenting G-d's true intent. By focusing so much on mitzvot, Moses was stifling the spiritual creativity in the souls of Israel. Moses was robbing the community of its grandeur.
Korach was a revolutionary; he was a soul on fire. But Moses was a leader, a shepherd. Moses, to be sure, deeply identified with Korach's message. If anybody understood the value of impassioned idealism, it was Moses, a man who left everything behind in his quest for truth. But a leader is not an individual lofty soul; a leader is a person who encompasses within his own heart an entire nation, from the highest to the lowest, and who is deeply in-tune with human nature.
Moses knew that a message that inspires boundless awe and excitement, but that does not demand individual life changes, won't have a lasting impact.
When an idealistic spirit speaks of transforming the universe and uplifting all of humanity, but fails to focus on building this universe through daily actions and words, at the end, he might fall very low, perhaps even become swallowed by the abyss. This indeed occurred to Korach and his men.
The lesson in our lives is clear: Living a Jewish life on a daily basis, saturated with the study of Torah and observance of mitzvot, and passing on these sacred deeds to our children - that is what will secure Jewish continuity and healing the world.
Adapted by Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, June 16, 1974. Reprinted with permission from The Algemeiner Journal ( To subscribe to Rabbi Jacobson's weekly essay, e-mail
Mazel Tov to Rabbi Saadia & Chanie Weingarten 
on the birth of their new baby boy!
Bris & Baby Naming: Sunday, June 13th at 4:00pm
May we continue to share in Simchas!
Rambam & the Rebbe
Across the globe, people from all walks of life are coming together to mark the 27th anniversary of the Rebbe's Day, on the third day of the Jewish month of Tammuz (this year, Sunday, June 13, 2021). Unique to this year, the day will also mark another important event: It will be the day countless students conclude the 40th cycle of study of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, an effort that took approximately 11 months.
Join us at the Chabad House on
Sunday, 6/13 4:30pm
Mazel Tov to our graduating students at
Gan Yiladim Preschool!!

CTeen Grand Rapids Presents:
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Sunday, June 13th
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Bagels and lox lunch will be served.
Virtual Torah & Tea
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Monday evening at 8:00pm

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THIS WEEK IN the year...
On the third of Tammuz of the year 2488 from creation (1273 BCE), Joshua was leading the Jewish people in one of the battles to conquer the Land of Israel. Victory was imminent, but darkness was about to fall. "Sun," proclaimed Joshua, "be still at Giv'on; moon, at the Ayalon valley" (Joshua 10:12). The heavenly bodies acquiesced, halting their progress through the sky until Israel's armies brought the battle to its successful conclusion.

The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950), who was arrested on Sivan 15 of 1927 by agents of the GPU (soviet secret police) and the Yevsektzia ("Jewish section" of the Communist Party) for his work to preserve and disseminate Jewish learning and observance throughout the Soviet Empire. Held in the notorious Spalerno prison in Leningrad, he was repeatedly interrogated and beaten. Initially sentenced to death, international pressure compelled the Soviet regime to first commute the sentence to ten years hard labor in Siberia, and then to a three-year term of exile in Kostrama, a town in the interior of Russia.
On the 3rd of Tammuz, 18 days after his arrest, he was released from prison and allowed six hours at home before reporting to the Leningrad train station to embark on his exile. Many gathered at the station to see him off. Though he knew that there were GPU agents present, he spoke to the assembled crowd, encouraging all to persist in the very activities for which he had been arrested. "This," he proclaimed "all the nations of the world must know: Only our bodies were sent into exile and subjugated to alien rule; our souls were not given over into captivity and foreign rule. We must proclaim openly and before all that any matter affecting the Jewish religion, Torah, and its mitzvot and customs is not subject to the coercion of others. No one can impose his belief upon us, nor coerce us to conduct ourselves contrary to our beliefs!"
(On the 12th of Tammuz, after serving only nine days of his three year term, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak was informed that he was free to return home. Shortly thereafter, he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union and resettled in Riga, Latvia.)
Days of Light (the Rebbe's prison diary)

1994 -3 Tammuz
On the third of Tammuz in year 5754 - 1994. (this year June 27, 2017), the Rebbe ascended on his last mission to complete his lifetime goal - the redemption.
The Rebbe's Day - Tammuz 3 - is a day that encourages us to bond with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, followed by a Mitzvah, an act of Goodness and Kindness. Even with the lack of his physical presence since 1994, the Rebbe continues to have an immeasurable impact on Jews and Judaism. Under his leadership and guidance, thousands of young couples continue to dedicate and devote their lives, through the global networks of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions, to spread Yidishskeit, goodness and kindness throughout the world. The Rebbe’s vision and promise of an imminent redemption, and a world filled with G‑dlines, peace and harmony continues to inspire millions through out the world. Soon it shall surely become a reality.
The Rebbe’s blessings and guidance continue to help and inspire many people in their physical and spiritual needs. Rabbi Weingarten will be pleased to assist you with your request for a blessing or guidance.

Phone: 616-957-0770