Korach: Only One Eye

Korach was a man of great wisdom and status who is driven by jealousy to lead a mutiny against his cousin Moses. Korach accuses Moses of seizing power for himself and his brother Aaron over the rest of the holy congregation. God punishes Korach by causing the earth to open and swallow him up.

Medieval commentator Rashi writes that Korach committed this egregious sin because his eye misled him. Why does Rashi say “eye” (singular) rather than “eyes”? Don’t we all have two eyes? Rabbi Baruch Sorotzkin explains, “One of the distinguishing characteristics of a tzaddik [saintly individual] is that he looks at every issue from multiple perspectives. Korach did not do this. He used only one eye, so to speak, and thus was misled.”

The Talmud teaches that when we judge the whole person – observing his strengths and weaknesses, his personal experiences, everything that affects his life – we will be more likely to judge favorably. Korach focused only on Moses’ status as leader and was therefore unable to see the big picture and acknowledge his cousin’s unique qualifications for the role.

Korach’s tragic tale teaches an important lesson: we should not rush to judgement, but rather be humble and see the best in others!

Image: “The Punishment of Korach” by Boticelli

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