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Our Torah Portion is named for one of Torah’s premier villains. Korach, cousin of Moses, seeks to topple Moses from his position as G-d’s chosen man and assume the role now held by the great Liberator himself. But whereas Moses exercises his leadership as, what the Torah calls, “the most humble man who ever lived,” Korach’s pride steers his agenda as he defies G-d’s choice of Moses. Moses serves G-d while Korach is self-serving and cares not for the people of Israel. He is determined to attain power for its own sake.|
Ancient cities featured a stone monument called “Omphalos,” the Greek word for “navel.” The Omphalos reflected the citizenry’s belief that their particular city was the navel of the world, the geographic center of earth. Today, a condition has been identified named The Omphalos Syndrome which describes the tendency of prideful people to believe they have received a divine appointment to occupy the center of the universe.
Within minutes of making their acquaintance they tell you how important they are, if not how critical they are, if not how indispensable they are. They are very religious people: they worship regularly at the temple of self-regard. Convinced everyone should have the same admiration for them that they have attained, everything is self-referential.
A cartoon in the New Yorker Magazine depicted a woman speaking to a friend. “I just spent an hour with my manicurist and pedicurist, after having done a ninety minute work-out with my personal trainer at the gym, then had lunch with my low-carb support group, and now I need to go for my botox injections and then it’s off to yoga class. I just don’t have any time for myself any more!”
Let us ascend four rungs on the ladder to acquiring the humility of Moses and fleeing from the pride of Korach:
1) We should accept our strengths and not downplay them, 2) but realize that the source of those strengths is in G-d; 3) we should compare ourselves to G-d in subservience, rather than compare ourselves to other people in superiority, 4) and we should know that, despite our best efforts, all that we are and all that we prize shall pass.