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    He sank, they sang – Korach

    Leaf through the Book of Psalms. Eleven chapters (42-49, 84-85, 87-88) are attributed to the Sons of Korach.

    Yet were not Korach and his company punished for their rebellion against Moses and Aaron, when the earth opened up and swallowed them? But Num. 26:1 tells us, Uv’nei Korach lo metu, “the sons of Korach did not die”. So why did Korach’s children escape punishment? Were they with him or against him in his uprising?

    Rashi says that they originally supported the revolt, but then thought better of it, did t’shuvah (repented), and withdrew.

    Common sense? Of course; even though it may affect family dynamics, nobody should go along with a plan or policy merely because a relative is spearheading it. If you cannot change the ringleader’s mind, you can maintain your own dignity and credibility and be true to your own conscience by not becoming personally involved.

    What happened to Korach’s children? They became Temple officials and singers; they were Temple gatekeepers, looked after the sanctuary treasures, made the flat cakes (1 Chron. 9 & 26), and “stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very strong voice” (11 Chron. 20:19).

    Maybe this was their t’shuvah; they repented not only in their hearts but in their actions. Rabbenu Yonah of Gerona says that whichever part of you sinned, it is with that part that you must do penitence. In this case the sin was with the mouth: Korach and company used speech to malign Moses and Aaron; i.e. they used their mouth against God. Korach’s sons repented by using their mouth for God.

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