Questions on Parshat Korach

I had some time over Shabbat to think about the parshah more.  It’s already time to move on to Mishpatim, but here they are anyways:

1. The scene where Yitro persuades Moses to create a judicial system instead of handling all matters himself immediately precedes the section when the Israelites prepare to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai.  Through what means was Moses judging the Israelites if not halachah, Jewish law?  How did he become judge over them before he was even given the rulebook? He said “I make known the laws and teachings of Gd” (Shmot/Exodus: 18:16).

2. In the Second Commandment (Shmot/Exodus: 20:4) Gd commands, “You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth.” Did there really exist a legitimate concern that some undersea idol-making was going to take place?  First of all, they were traveling through the desert, and the sea split and they walked on dry land.  Secondly, chipping away at stone while underwater sounds pretty difficult.  Given that a literal explanation makes no sense, what else could this mean?

3. Why are reasons given for some of the commandments and not others?


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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