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In the portion Korach, a group led by Korach rises up against Moses, Aaron, and the Creator. We have said before that Korach was not a bad person; in fact, he was tremendously elevated spiritually. And the message that he was giving was an important message, one that we need to learn from… but without making the same mistake he did.
There were different groups of people in the desert. There were those who were considered closest to the Light of the Creator, and there were the Israelites who were in the outer camps, which meant that their connection to the Light of the Creator was diminished. Korach tells the Israelites that is not the way it's supposed to be. They shouldn’t be outside, in a diminished connection to Light of the Creator; they should want to be where Moses and Aaron are. He tells them they are wrong if they believe it has to stay the way Moses set it up.
Korach tells the Israelites a true message: not to be satisfied. Moses, he says, is the most connected to the Light of the Creator, and they are not meant to be satisfied with that. And we have to understand that the reason the Creator only allows Moses and Aaron to come forward and be closest to the Light is not because it's only for them, but it's for everybody. Korach tells the Israelites the reason they are not there is because they are satisfied, and therefore, don't have enough desire.
There has to be a desire. The Israelites have to awaken the desire to be where Moses and Aaron are. And the only reason there is any type of distance between themselves and the Light of the Creator, between themselves and where Moses, is for the purpose of awakening a true desire to be close, like Moses is.
As such, what does Korach say the Creator wants from us? The Creator wants for us to desire, and to do everything we can to get to the innermost space, get to the work of Moses, to get to the work of Aaron. And if we can awaken that desire we’ll be closer to the Light of the Creator. This is the message of Korach, and is maybe one of the most important spiritual teachings, because what happened in the desert at this moment - and now we understand the beauty of Korach - was that everybody was satisfied. Moses and Aaron were closest to the Creator. The Levites and other groups were a little bit more distant. And the Israelites, the last group, is even further from the Light of the Creator. And they’re all satisfied because they believe this is the way the Creator set it up.
But Korach is telling them the only reason there's a distance between themselves and the Light of the Creator is because the Creator wants for them to awaken a desire to be where Moses and Aaron are. Therefore, Korach tells all the Israelites not to be satisfied. And this is the message we want to receive from Korach on this Shabbat. If there's a distance between ourselves and the Light of the Creator, we can never be satisfied, because the only reason distance exists is for us to awaken a desire for the removal of that distance, and that's what Korach tells all the leaders and all the Israelites.
One of the most important connections a person can have is the desire of a greater connection, even though he or she cannot accomplish it or does not deserve it. The greatest connection a person can have is when he or she has a desire for something that is not on their level, that is beyond where they are. And even though the Creator may say, “No, it's not for you,” that unfulfilled desire elevates the individual.
The Zohar says the waves of the ocean do not belong in the heavens, but they're pushing to go up to the heavens, and the Creator pushes them down. That is what gives the ocean its energy. What gives the ocean its life is that unfulfilled desire of the water and the waves to elevate to the Creator, and its inability to get there. Even though the Creator pushes it down, it is that desire itself which gives it Light.
This is the teaching of Korach. You have to awaken this desire, he told the Israelites, and say, “I want to be where Moses is. I want to be where Aaron is.” But it has to be desire, not action, and this was Korach’s mistake. If we realize we’re not at the level yet where we desire to be, we don’t try to push it to happen or act on it. We need to just stay with desire. Don’t try like Korach did to push Moses aside and say, “I’m going to take your place.” As the Zohar says, it's not your place; keep the desire but don't cause an argument with Moses about it. That was his mistake.
A person who has the desire to know more, be more, and do more is in one of the most important spiritual places one can be. The Zohar tells us the most important spiritual state to be in is one where we look at whatever darkness and lack we’re experiencing, and say, “I want more.” And as we said, the only reason we experience lack and the distance we feel from the Light of the Creator is for the purpose of awakening within us the desire to connect and come closer.
When the Creator sees that we are lacking in desire, then as a gift to us, the Creator gives us some lack. Because the purpose of that lack is for us to realize we don't have enough desire and we're not pushing ourselves enough. When we understand that, then from the lack and pain, we push. Ultimately, we want to get to a state where we don't need that pain or lack in order to truly push.
It is a beautiful gift that we can receive on this Shabbat: the greater awakening of our desire to be in a place where we're not. To see somebody who's more spiritual and elevated than us, to see somebody who's more connected than us, and say, “That's where I want to be,” and, therefore, awaken that desire. When the Creator sees the desire is there, we might not get to that place, but we get that Light.