In the portion Pinchas, a new census is taken of the entire nation. When counting the tribe of Reuben, the Torah mentions Dathan and Abiram, who had joined Korach in his uprising against Moses, and were killed with him. Then it says, “But the sons of Korach did not die.” This is confusing, for in the section where the uprising is discussed, the Torah states that all of Korach’s family was killed with him, seemingly swallowed up by the ground, as well. How, then, can we understand what the Torah means here that Korach’s children did not die?
The Midrash tells a story which answers this question. It says that, yes, Korach’s sons were swallowed up by the ground with him, and fell to the lowest level of darkness. But then, suddenly, their hearts awakened to come close to the Creator, and it says they desired to sing before the Creator; however, the negativity was so strong that they could not utter any words. As such, they sang only in their hearts. And it was in the moment when they desired to sing, it says, that they were immediately saved, and that is why it is written, “But the sons of Korach did not die.”
It is a fascinating story, but still a little difficult to comprehend. If they deserved to fall into the lowest level of darkness, they must have been terribly negative people. How, then, can we understand that simply by desiring to come closer to the Creator through song, which is seemingly a small action, they merited being elevated from the darkness? The answer is simple, but beautiful: a connection and closeness to the Creator can be achieved immediately, at any time. It can occur at any place and in any situation, even in the lowest levels of darkness, because if a person truly desires the closeness of the Creator, then he or she attains it immediately.
This teaching is based on the understanding that the Light of the Creator permeates the entire universe and all of creation; there is nothing besides the Light of the Creator. Unfortunately, due to our ego, we cause this Light to be concealed, but the reality is that everything is the Light of the Creator and this Light is everywhere, always. Therefore, it is extremely easy to connect to the Light anytime, anywhere, and in any situation. Why? Because regardless of anything else, the Light of the Creator is always there and available to us. It is one of the most basic spiritual concepts, but one that, although most of us know it, we do not truly feel or live it.
If we truly felt and lived this truth, not only would we not allow ourselves to act in a negative way, but also, more importantly, we would never be unhappy, worried, or upset, because no matter what we do or to what depth we fall, we know, without a doubt, that the Creator is always immediately available to us. This is an understanding that the Negative Side tries to invalidate in our mind, convincing us that after the negativity we have created, it is impossible to connect to the Creator. But what we learn from the story of Korach’s sons in the portion of Pinchas is that no matter how far someone falls, no matter where we are or what we have done, a connection to the Light is possible and available instantly; all we have to do is awaken within our heart a true and strong desire to connect to the Creator.