PARSHAT KORACH: “IF YOU SPOT IT, YOU GOT IT!”
By Sherrie B. Miller
“And they gathered against Moshe and Aharon and they said to them you have taken too much power for yourselves. The entire congregation is holy, and the Almighty is in their midst. Why do you take leadership over the congregation of the Almighty?” (Bamidbar 16:3)
Korach is extremely bitter and lashes out at the two G-d chosen leaders of all time. He argues that they act haughtily in seizing the leadership of the Israelites for themselves.
Korach felt that his pedigree was equally as stellar and worthy of such honor; after all he was a cousin to Moshe and Aharon. Yet, while Korach “cries out” for equality, he did not protest the honor given him over all other Levites and Israelites to carry the Ark!
The Torah tells us explicitly that Moshe was the humblest of all men and by virtue of the fact that Aharon was a peace seeker par excellence, he demonstrated tremendous humility as well. This being so, how dare Korach accuse them of arrogance and being power hungry?
We learn from this that when someone speaks against another or notices flaws in the other, he/she is usually projecting his own faults on to them. As Rav Zelig Pliskin notes: "if you spot it, you got it." It is easier to attribute a fault within us, to someone on the “outside”, than doing the work of introspection and repairing the flaw within. “Tikkun Atzmi” is a most arduous task!
Chazal reenforce this modern day psychological notion of projection and teach: “kol hapossel, b’mumo possel.” This means that one who finds faults in others, is really (often subconsciously) revealing his own fault. Korach was actually the power hungry and arrogant one.
Think of someone you find difficult. What is the trait that is most difficult for you to handle in them? What does it make you think about them? Then, think honestly of instances in which you find yourself, or even just imagine yourself acting in the very same way, exhibiting the same behavior.
When Hashem created us, He created us in such a way that we comprise the entire Universe. Each of us is said to be an “olam umlo’oh”, a complete world unto ourselves. When G-d said, “let us make man”, He requested that all His creations give a part of their spiritual essence to Man, and “wired” this essence into each of us. This is why we become uncomfortable with other’s flaws: we can identify with the flaw and it resonates within because we possess it. It is like having a mirror held up in front of our face, which enables us to see our true inner “self.”
Sarah Schneider in her book, “Kabbalistic Writings on the Nature of Masculine & Feminine”, quotes the Baal Shem Tov who says: “A person completely free of blemish and sin would never encounter vice in the world. He would not see it in others nor even hear of its occurrence. Consequently, when a person witnesses wrong doing (or even hears about it) he knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that that very same flaw exists, now, inside himself. Even if he is a tzaddik, the flaw is there, though in an infinitely more subtle form. He also knows that Hashem arranged the encounter between himself and the sinner to communicate to him, in no uncertain terms, that he must find the place inside himself that parallels the sin he witnessed and repent forthright.”
While “sin” is too harsh a term to be used in our context of dating and marriage, the Baal Shem Tov nevertheless heeds us to look inside ourselves when confronted with an unpleasant character trait of another. This will surely take the “wind out of the sails” and create a much less judgmental and more accepting attitude of the other.
In a dating situation, even if we choose not to pursue this relationship, we can and we must deepen the learning about our selves, which will in turn give us the ability and power to move forward with added clarity! If we believe that there are no coincidences in life, (mikre=rock mi Hashem!) then each date has a purpose and a reason. I must always learn something new about myself, even if the date is not my bashert. If we adopt this philosophy in the framework of marriage, we will stop trying to change our partner and focus inward in the realization that the only one that we can change is ourselves. When we accept the fact that what displeases me regarding my partner, is nothing more than a reflection of myself and an invitation by Hashem to correct “me”, it can be a catalyst for self growth leading to growth and development as a couple.
Sherrie B. Miller is a Jewish matchmaker on SawYouAtSinai and a dating coach in Jerusalem. She received her counseling degree from the Michlala in Jerusalem and an M.A. in Jewish Education from Touro College. Sherrie is certified by Midreshet Emunah and is accredited by the Rabbanut of Israel, to be a pre-marital couple’s counselor and Kallah teacher.