From Reb Sally Shore Wittenberg
In this week’s parasha there is a challenge, mutiny, retribution and affirmation. Our main characters are Korach, Moshe, and of course, G-d. Korach, Moshe’s first
cousin, challenges Moses’ exclusive right to leadership and the granting of the priesthood to Aaron; “we are all holy” is his argument. Joining Korach, Aviram and Dathan are 250 members of the community. The rebelling group are invited to make an incense offering to prove their worthiness for the priesthood. The earth opens up and swallows the head mutineers and a fire consumes the offerers.
A subsequent plague is stopped by Aaron’s own incense offering. Finally, among the 12 staffs planted by the tent of meeting, only Aaron’s staff miraculously blossoms and brings forth almonds, to prove that his designation as high priest is divinely ordained.
Gd commands that a tithe (1/10) from each crop of grain, wine and oil, as well all firstborn sheep and cattle, and other specified gifts, be given to the priests.