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    Did their property sin? – Korach

    The death of Korah, by Gustave Dore

    The death of Korah, by Gustave Dore

    The punishment of Korach and his henchmen was that the earth opened up and swallowed them (Num. 16:32) – together with all their property and possessions.

    Readers of the story have long puzzled over the reference to the possessions being swallowed up.

    “Human beings can sin and be punished,” the quite logical question runs, “But did the property sin? How can anyone attach blame to the furniture, the household equipment and family clothing?”

    What does King Solomon say in Mishlei, the Book of Proverbs (18:23)? Ashir ya’aneh azzot – “The rich person speaks impudently”. Riches and property have an effect on one’s character.

    King Solomon says that the poor man doesn’t speak so arrogantly (Tachanunim yedabber rash), whilst the rich is emboldened by his money.

    The Torah doesn’t just blame the human beings who sinned, i.e. Korach and Company, but the possessions which led to their sinfulness.

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