Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Korach

The Wise of the Women

Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

The fourteenth chapter of Mishlei/Proverbs opens, "The wise among women builds her home; the fool destroys it with her hands." This verse is generally explained to refer to the acumen of the female head of household to master the possessions of the home. The wise woman utilizes common sense and insight to keep the household operating smoothly and maintain control of the household chattel; the foolish woman is lackadaisical in her responsibilities and is considered an active participant in the unraveling of the home.

But Rashi understands the verse slightly differently. He explains that the foolish woman who contributes to the destruction of her household is akin to the wife of Korach, the woman who encouraged her husband to challenge Moshe and Aaron for the leadership of the Jewish people. The wise woman who preserves the integrity of the home is represented by the wife of Oan ben Peles, a lieutenant of Korach whose wife devised a plan to get him out of Korach's hopeless scheme.

Rashi is referring to the complete story of Oan, whose name appears at the beginning of the Torah's narrative (Bamidbar/Numbers 16:1) but mysteriously never reappears, as told in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 109b) and Medrash Raba (Bamidbar 18:15). His wife elucidated to him that he was destined to be a follower. With Aaron in the position of Kohen Gadol (High Priest) Oan was just a follower and if Korach became Kohen Gadol Oan would continue to be just a follower; Oan stood to gain nothing from his participation in this high risk venture. Oan replied that he had contractually obligated himself to participate in this gamble and feared they would entice him to follow through. So she hatched a plot. First, she would get him drunk, so that he could not respond to their appeals from outside his tent. Furthermore, appreciating Korach's position that "the entire assembly - all of them - are holy and G-d is among them," (16:3) and trusting that Korach and his followers were sincerely motivated G-d fearing people whose clear thinking was tainted by their jealousy of Moshe and Aaron, she positioned herself just inside the tent's doorway, not appropriately dressed, secure with the knowledge anyone who would come in with the intent of physically removing Oan would quickly scurry out upon seeing her. The plot was executed flawlessly. In the interim, Korach moved forward with his challenge, the earth miraculously opened and swallowed him, his followers and their families...and Oan slept through it all, thanks to his wife.

This, according to the Medrash and Talmud, is the paradigm of "the wise among women builds her home." It is much greater than expending effort for the maintenance of the possessions of the household. The ultimate builder of the home is the one who builds the members of the home, the selfless spouse and parent who realizes that a strong home is one where the family is safe, secure and intact. Insuring this safety may well involve weathering great discomfort - even significant humiliation. Ultimately, though, this is the family that survives - together, unbroken and unharmed.

Have a good Shabbos!


Copyright © 2002 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Project Genesis, Inc.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of the Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Dawn of a New Era
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Out of This World
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Defying Natural Order
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Ordeal of Departure
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5771

The Beginning & End of the Journey
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

The Perfect Covenant
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

And Swing with All Your Might
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

Recognizing the Source of Our Good
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

To the Land That I Will Show You
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

> There's No Place Like Away From Home...
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Better A Second Time Around
Shlomo Katz - 5767

No Second Thoughts
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

ArtScroll

Why The Land of Israel?
- 5768

Wake-Up Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

When Things Don't Go As Planned
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Abraham's Dwelling
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information