Haven on Earth
KORACH ' . . . WHAT DID HE DO? HE AROSE AND ASSEMBLED 250 MEN, FITTED TO BE THE HEADS OF THE SANHEDRIN, MOST OF THEM FROM THE TRIBE OF REUVEN . . .' RASHI BAMIDBAR 16.
'THE GREAT SANHEDRIN WAS COMPOSED OF SEVENTY ONE MEMBERS AND A SMALL SANHEDRIN WAS MADE UP OF TWENTY THREE. AND FROM WHERE DO WE LEARN THAT THE GREAT SANHEDRIN WAS TO HAVE SEVENTY ONE? AS IT IS SAID [BAMIDBAR 11], "GATHER UNTO ME SEVENTY MEN OF THE ELDERS OF YISRAEL", AND WITH MOSHE OVER THEM THE TOTAL IS SEVENTY ONE. RABBI YEHUDAH SAYS, SEVENTY [MOSHE INCLUDED]. AND FROM WHERE DO WE LEARN THAT THE SMALL SANHEDRIN WAS TO HAVE TWENTY THREE? AS IT IS SAID [CONCERNING THE LAW OF A MANSLAYER BAMIDBAR 35], "THEN THE EYDAH SHALL JUDGE", AND "THE EYDAH SHALL DELIVER". THAT IS ONE GROUP OF TEN MAY JUDGE [THE PERSON IN QUESTION AS GUILTY] AND ONE GROUP OF TEN MAY DELIVER [THIS PERSON TO THE CITY OF REFUGE AS INNOCENT, NOT WORTHY OF A DEATH SENTENCE] - THUS WE HAVE HERE TWENTY. AND FROM WHERE DO WE LEARN THAT AN EYDAH IS NOT LESS THAN TEN? AS IT IS SAID [CONCERNING THE SPYING OUT OF THE LAND IN BAMIDBAR 14], "HOW LONG SHALL I BEAR WITH THIS EVIL EYDAH?" - AND YEHOSHUA AND KALEV WERE EXCLUDED [LEAVING OF THE TWELVE SPIES A COUNT OF TEN]. AND FROM WHERE DO WE LEARN THAT THREE MORE WERE TO BE ADDED? . . . FOR YOUR DECIDING FOR GOOD MAY BE EFFECTED BY A MAJORITY OF ONE, BUT YOUR VERDICT FOR EVIL MUST BE REACHED BY A MAJORITY OF TWO [ADDING A SECOND IN A CASE OF ELEVEN JUDGING GUILTY AND TEN JUDGING INNOCENT]. AND WE DO NOT ALLOW A COURT CASE TO REMAIN IN THE BALANCE [IN THIS CASE OF ELEVEN JUDGING GUILTY AND ELEVEN JUDGING INNOCENT OF MURDER] SO WE ADD ANOTHER ONE. WE HAVE NOW TWENTY THREE. HOW MANY MEN NEED THERE BE IN A CITY TO BE FITTING TO HAVE A SMALL SANHEDRIN? THE TANNA SAYS, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY [ACCORDING TO THE MINIMUM SUCH A COURT EMPLOYS]. RABBI NEHEMIAH SAYS [ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF SUITABLE JUDGES], TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY, EACH ASSOCIATED WITH LEADING A GROUP OF TEN [THE JUDGES INCLUDED].' SANHEDRIN 1.
If we make an account, that heads of small sanhedrins are leaders of 230 men, and of the 250 men of Korach's rebellion the majority were from the Tribe of Reuven say 130 of these leaders, then 130 multiply 230 we arrive at the number 29900 men. How many died on the day of the rebellion?
'AND HE [AHARON] STOOD BETWEEN THE DEAD AND THE LIVING; AND THE PLAGUE WAS RESTRAINED. NOW THEY THAT DIED IN THE PLAGUE WERE FOURTEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED, BESIDES THEM THAT DIED ABOUT THE MATTER OF KORACH.' BAMIDBAR 17.
Aharon stood between the dead and those still alive, perhaps those still alive had been judged to be killed by the plague, but were in fact delivered from it. 14700 multiplied by two is how many? Twenty nine thousand four hundred, that is five hundred less than the men under leadership that is estimated above. Five hundred is twice 250, the number of men that were said to have died with Korach. It seems from this that as many were saved as were killed in this disagreement not for the sake of heaven. Perhaps this idea, rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens needs to be checked. Even if Moshe over see the setting up the leaders, the whole basis of the groups is judgement orientated. OK, what happened before the law leaders ideal? How did we approach the tradition and its development? We were tribes descendants of tribal fathers, and they in turn were brothers of one father. Perhaps a growing tradition built on the small model and extending. With an eventful climax, revisiting our unity at mount Sinai after a few generations of unkept sovereignty, the revelation of Torah was presented in the singular person command form. What of the day to day life, with its many structures one within the other, connections and barriers? So we have learnt on a JOURNEY lasting a few thousand years, that the unity project or perhaps you might prefer a title like 'Supreme Court for the Justice of the Peace', anyway you take it, it takes a lot of good will and a lot of experience to receive the whole and complete Torah. Did you hear much of this before?
'AND IT CAME TO PASS WHEN THE EYDAH HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST MOSHE AND AGAINST AHARON, THAT THEY LOOKED TOWARDS THE APPOINTED TENT: AND, BEHOLD, THE CLOUD COVERED IT, AND THE GLORY OF THE ETERNAL APPEARED. AND MOSHE AND AHARON CAME BEFORE THE APPOINTED TENT. AND THE ETERNAL SPOKE UNTO MOSHE SAYING, GET YOU UP FROM THE MIDST [ MITOCH ] OF THIS EYDAH, THAT I MAY CONSUME THEM AS IN A MOMENT. AND THEY FELL UPON THEIR FACES. AND MOSHE SAID UNTO AHARON, TAKE THE CENSER, AND PUT FIRE THEREIN FROM OFF THE ALTER, AND PUT ON INCENSE, AND GO QUICKLY UNTO THE EYDAH, AND MAKE AN EXPIATION FOR THEM: FOR THERE IS ANGER GONE OUT FROM THE ETERNAL: AND THE PLAGUE IS BEGUN. AND AHARON TOOK, AS MOSHE COMMANDED, AND RAN INTO THE MIDST [ TOCH ] THE CONGREGATION; AND, BEHOLD, THE PLAGUE WAS BEGUN AMONG THE PEOPLE: AND HE PUT ON INCENSE, AND MADE AN EXPIATION FOR THE PEOPLE.' BAMIDBAR 17.
It sounds as though Moshe is told to separate completely from the whole Eydah ideal. Or perhaps the centrality of it is not suited to Moshe but to Aharon. But first to regain the national cause by way of the tribes and their natural growth of people with leadership. After one's father's house and tribe have been accredited correct then Betoch - amidst them Aharon and His tribe, or his tribe can set a new sense of centrality to appointed leadership.
'AND THE ETERNAL SPOKE UNTO MOSHE, SAYING, SPEAK UNTO THE CHILDREN OF YISRAEL, AND TAKE OF EVERY ONE OF THEM A STAFF, ACCORDING TO THE HOUSE OF THEIR FATHERS, OF ALL THEIR PRINCES ACCORDING TO THE HOUSE OF THEIR FATHERS, TWELVE STAVES: WRITE THOU EVERY MAN'S NAME UPON HIS STAFF. AND THOU SHALT WRITE AHARON'S NAME UPON THE STAFF OF LEVI: FOR ONE STAFF SHALL BE FOR THE HEAD OF THE HOUSE OF THEIR FATHERS. AND THOU SHALT PLACE THEM IN THE APPOINTED TENT, BEFORE THE TESTIMONY, WHERE I HAVE MY APPOINTMENTS WITH YOU. AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS THAT THE MAN'S STAFF, WHOM I SHALL CHOOSE, SHALL BLOSSOM: AND I WILL CAUSE TO CEASE FROM ME THE MURMURINGS OF THE CHILDREN OF YISRAEL WHEREBY THEY MURMUR AGAINST YOU.' BAMIDBAR 17.
Betoch is the centre, a middle point that gives to those which surround a reference one with another. The ideal of organized groups shifted from judgement, the attribute associated with Korach, to the attribute of Aharon. And by this means Moshe remained undisputed as the true prophet to G~d, an evolving peoplehood and its proper form of leadership. Ending to dwell on a new beginning.