Haftaras Korach

The following post was meant to go out late last week, but I was unable to post it at the time because of technical problems with the website. I am glad that, with Hashem’s help, I am now back in business.
The haftarah for parashas Korach is a section in Shmuel Alef presenting Shmuel HaNavi’s farewell address to the Jewish People (this section was chosen because Shmuel is a descendant of the sons of Korach – see Tachuma, Korach 5). The following Midrash contrasts a verse in the haftarah with a similar verse in Tehillim (Ruth Rabbah 2:11):
One verse says (Tehillim 94:14): “For Hashem shall not cast off His people, and His estate He shall not abandon.” And another verse says (Shmuel Alef 12:22). “For Hashem shall not cast off His people, on account of His great Name ….” … Said R. Aivi: “When the Jewish People are meritorious, Hashem acts on account of His people and His estate, and when they are not, He acts on account of His great Name.” The Rabbis said: “In the Land of Israel, Hashem acts on account of His people and His estate, and outside the Land of Israel, He acts on account of His great Name.”
The Maggid asks: What difference does it make whether Hashem acts on account of His people and His estate or on account of His great Name, since either way He provides our needs? He answers as follows. Our relationship with Hashem is like the relationship between a young man and his father. If the son is well-behaved, the father will habitually seat his son next to him, rejoice with him, and serve him large helpings of food with deep love. It is different, though, when the son is ill-misbehaved and causes his father aggravation. The father will continue to show his son compassion and provide him food. But he will not seat his son next to him and serve him his food directly. Instead, he will keep his son at a distance and brusquely toss him his food.
Similarly, when we were firmly settled in the Land of Israel and served Hashem faithfully, Hashem would extend us blessing directly, from His hand to ours, so to speak, like a loving father. Out of His great affection for us, as His dear children, He would provide for us with great generosity and a joyous spirit. In this vein, it is written (Devarim 28:2): “And all these blessings shall come upon you and latch on to you.” But now, because of our many sins, Hashem deals with us differently. Although He continues to provide for us, we gain our sustenance only with great difficulty, through convoluted means fraught with grief. As a prophecy of Yechezkel puts it (Yechezkel 12:19): “They shall eat their bread with anxiety.” The difficulty we experience in gaining our sustenance is a sign that Hashem is not providing for us out of sheer love for us, but rather on account of His compassionate nature and the oath He swore to our forefathers – in other words, on account of His Name.
We yearn for Hashem to look upon us favorably and care for us with ardent love. In this vein, we plead (Tehillim 67:2): “May God favor us and bless us, and make His countenance shine in our midst, Selah.” We want Hashem to give us our sustenance with a glowing and joyous face, not with an angry face. It pains us to be distanced from Hashem, exiled outside the Land of Israel, and have Hashem, so to speak, throw us our food and make us toil to find it. There is indeed a world of difference between Hashem providing for us on our account and His providing for us solely on account of His great Name. May we merit having Hashem proudly provide for us on our own account.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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