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Torah Portion Korach  Numbers 16:1 through 18:32  

This Torah portion is named for Mosesí cousin who Korach challenges Mosesí authority.

Summary:  Mosesí cousin Korach (tribe of Levi) along with the Reubenites (Dathan, Abiram, and On - although On drops out of the story) raised an army of 250 men of renown to confront Moses about his being holier than the rest of the congregation.  Moses says that YHVH will decide who is holy; he challenges them to bring their firepans with incense on the morrow and see which ones YHVH will choose.  The men assembled with their firepans and incense before the entrance of the Tent of Meeting as instructed.  YHVH tells Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the rebels and to warn the people to avoid Korach, Dathan, and Abiram. The ground opens up and swallows Korach, Dathan, Abiram, and their families; the fire of YHVH consumes the 250 rebels with their fire-pans.  Eleazar (son of Aaron) is told to collect the firepans and use their metal to cover the altar.   There were people who accused Moses of the deaths of the rebels; YHVH sent a plague to destroy another 14,700; Aaron used his fire-pan with incense to make expiation, which stopped the plague.  YHVH instructs Moses to collect staffs from each of the tribes (Aaronís would be for the Levites) and place them before the Ark of the Covenant.  The one that would blossom would indicate the favored tribe.  The next day, Aaronís had blossoms and ripe almonds.  YHVH instructs Moses to put Aaronís staff before the Testimony (the Ark) as a reminder for the people to end their rebellions against Him. YHVH reminds Aaron of the responsibilities of the Levites for the service of the Tabernacle, and that Aaron and his descendants may eat of the offerings.  The firstborn of people are to be redeemed and the priest can keep the money.  However, the firstlings of the ox, sheep, and goats are to be sacrificed, with no benefit to the priests.  The Levites will have no land rights; however, YHVH is their inheritance.  The Levites are to tithe from their collections from the Children of Israel.