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    When the dog barks – Korach

    Nobody likes Korach, but what about his henchmen Datan and Aviram?

    Korach was out for title and position. He had no time or respect for Moses and Aaron, and if they stood in the way of his personal advancement and advantage, they had to go.

    But there is no evidence that Datan and Aviram wanted to take over the running of the community, and if they did there would have been major conflicts between themselves and Korach.

    What Datan and Aviram wanted, according to the interpretation of the Maharal, was plain mischief. They enjoyed seeing the community abuzz with contention, with people taking sides and criticising one another.

    The Book of Proverbs likens the person who makes quarrels and stirs things up to a dog: “Like a man who grabs hold of a dog’s ears, so is the person who gets involved in other people’s quarrels” (Prov. 26:17).

    It’s probably not fair to the dog to mention him in a negative connection, since dogs are usually friendly and loyal, but according to the Midrash the dog is an appropriate simile since anything can set a dog off barking and when one barks the others join in.

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