From Mouth to Mouth
From the Zohar, Balak 209
(From our sister-site, Kabbala
Rabbi Aba asked a difficult question. It is written: "And
the earth opened her mouth" (Num. 16:32) and it is written [in the
episode of Bilaam's donkey in next week's Reading]: "And G-d opened
the mouth of the ass." Why the difference between the earth and the
ass? Why is it not written that 'G-d opened the mouth of the earth'?
It is only that there, it was Moses' decree that the earth
needs to open her mouth. And the earth performed the command of Moses
by opening. It is not proper that G-d should carry out an instruction
commanded by Moses, seeing that Moses has decreed and instructed: "And
the earth opens her mouth". (Ibid. 16:30) Hence, it performed the
command, as written: "And the earth opened her mouth." However,
here [concerning Balaam], there was no one who had decreed that it was
only the wish of the Holy One, blessed be He. Since that was His desire,
it is written: "And G-d opened the mouth of the ass." It originated
with him and through him, it occurred.
BeRahamim LeHayyim (Rachmiel-Hayyim Drizen) commentary:
"And the earth opened her mouth"Korach used the power of speech
not for holy purposes. The Midrash says he offered hypothetical questions
why an all-blue tallit needs a single additional thread of blue, or (2)
why a house full of holy writings needs a Mezuzah containing a sacred
writing on its doorpost.
Korach's desire for illusory greatness, emerging out of his disappointment
in his lot in life, "took him over" and caused him to play a
dangerous game with G-d's appointed leadership. His punishment was therefore
'mida-kineged-mida', tit for tat, just desserts. His main weapon
was his mouth, and he was punished by The Mouth.
There is a Korach-complex inside all of us, as there is a Moses, a Aaron,
as well as 250 sub-personalities needing a self-sense of being above the
rest, broken shards of human beings competing to be invited to the important
gatherings, fragmented pieces of the self valuing fame and reputation
above humility and integrity.
May we seek connection over greatness and inner strength over external
material manifestation. Amen