They assembled against Moshe and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and HASHEM is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the HASHEM’s assembly?” (Bamidbar 16:3)
You take too much upon yourselves: You took by far too much greatness for yourselves! Rashi
…are all holy: All of them heard [the] words [of the commandments] at Sinai from the mouth of the Almighty. Rashi
So why do you raise yourselves: If you have taken kingship for yourself, you should not have chosen kehunah for your brother. Not only you heard at Sinai, “I am the Lord, your God” ; the entire congregation heard it. – Rashi
What had Korach done so terribly wrong that he should end up in a pit? Was he not, wealthy and wise beyond anyone’s wildest dreams ?! Where is his tragic flaw?
Maybe we can get a little help from the Rambam who wrote in commentaries on Mishne Sanhedrin what is now universally known and accepted as “The 13 Fundamental Principles of Judaism”. Here is how they appear in the Siddur for daily recital”:
1. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.
2. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is One. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our G-d He was, He is, and He will be.
3. I believe with perfect faith that G-d does not have a body. Physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all.
4. I believe with perfect faith that G-d is first and last.
5. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to G-d. One may not pray to anyone or anything else.
6. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true.
7. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after Him.
8. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses.
9. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another given by G-d.
10. I believe with perfect faith that G-d knows all of man’s deeds and thoughts. It is thus written (Psalm 33:15), “He has molded every heart together, He understands what each one does.”
11. I believe with perfect faith that G-d rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes those who transgress Him.
12. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day.
13. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when G-d wills it to happen.
The Rambam provided what we might be able to analogize to an automotive inspection check list. A car is not built with an inspection checklist. For that you need the engineer’s step by step plan. However once the car built, it must be deemed worthy for the road though an inspection. If a car has a great engine, good wheels, functional lights, great gas emissions etc. but it only lacks breaks, would you put your family inside that vehicle!? Sure Korach was wealthy and wise and articulate but he since challenged the and countermanded the authority of Moshe (#’s 6,7, and 8), then he is like a car with all the great features except breaks! Without one critical ingredient like that one can swerve into a deep pit, and on the way down realize the mechanic Moshe was right! DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.