Torah – The Antidote for the Yetzer Hara

“Korach son of Yitzhar son of Kehat son of Levi took, with Datan and Aviram, sons of Eliav, and On ben Pelet, the offspring of Reuven”

(Bamidbar 16:1)

Rashi expounds that the word “took” indicates that “Korach took himself off to one side.” He separated himself from the assembly of Israel by raising objections regarding the priesthood.

How could Korach, who was one of the bearers of the Aron (Tanchuma, Korach 2), disparage Moshe Rabbeinu, casting doubts upon his legitimacy as leader? As bearer of the Aron, Korach was certainly a man of spiritual standing. What possessed him to quarrel with Moshe Rabbeinu, even succeeding in drawing after himself two hundred and fifty of the Nesi’im, who were all men of repute?

Korach noticed that Hashem had not appeared to Moshe in a manner of affection for thirty-eight years. Korach felt that this was an indication of His displeasure with Moshe’s leadership of the nation. In that case, thought Korach, it was high time they chose a new leader.

Although his observation was correct, he failed to consider the reason for this. He simply assumed that Moshe had been demoted from his position as leader. Had he investigated the matter, he would have come to the realization that Hashem had done this not due to any flaw in Moshe, rather, due to the fault of the people. After the sin of the spies, Hashem was angry at the nation who had accepted their negative report. Their lashon hara about the Land indicated a denial of Hashem, Who had promised them, “I will bring you into a Land flowing with milk and honey, which is under My supervision throughout the year.”

Korach stumbled in sin, falling into the innards of the earth. Most of his descendants were obliterated. When a person closes his eyes to the truth, refusing to understand the real reason for what occurs, he becomes blind, even when the truth stares him in the face. Had Korach truly desired to discover the truth, he would not have dismissed the matter so easily. Rather, he would have exerted himself to reveal the real reason for Hashem’s distance from Moshe for the past thirty-eight years.

The episode of Korach teaches us a timeless lesson. The greater a person, the greater is the Yetzer Hara lurking within him. Hashem brought the Torah down to Har Sinai, surrounded by clouds and fire. Where the fire of Torah glows, the clouds of the Yetzer Hara blur our sight, in an attempt to obstruct our view from the burning truth of Torah.

Korach was a great Torah scholar, but he did not attempt to overcome his Yetzer Hara, which obscured his vision from the beauty of Torah. He allowed the cloud of the Yetzer Hara to envelop him. His Yetzer Hara eventually vanquished him completely, bringing him to the lowest level possible.

“Datan and Aviram went out erect at the entrance of their tents” (Bamidbar 16:27). When a person stands merely at the entrance of the tent of Torah, not showing a desire to enter and take lodging in the welcoming embrace of Torah, his vision is blocked from seeing the beauty contained in the Beit Hamidrash. Since Datan and Aviram did not make the effort to enter the portals of Torah, thereby using it as a weapon against the Yetzer Hara, their Yetzer Hara got the better of them, convincing them to join forces with Korach and his dubious crowd.

There is one way to remove the heavy haze which veils our view of the fire of Torah. This is by clinging to Torah with every fiber of our being. Only Torah has the power to remove all effects of the Yetzer Hara from a person, as the Gemara states (Kiddushin 30b), “I created the Yetzer Hara; I created the Torah as its antidote.”

In Summary


Hevrat Pinto • 32, rue du Plateau 75019 Paris - FRANCE • Tél. : +331 42 08 25 40 • Fax : +331 42 06 00 33 • © 2015 • Webmaster : Hanania Soussan