Korach, Siman 1 קרח, א׳
1 א

וַיִּקַח קֹרַח. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: אָח נִפְשָׁע מִקִּרְיַת עֹז, וּמִדְיָנִים כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן (משלי יח, יט). אָח נִפְשָׁע מִקִּרְיַת עֹז, זֶה קֹרַח שֶׁחָלַק כְּנֶגֶד מֹשֶׁה וּמָרַד וְיָרַד מִן כָּבוֹד שֶׁהָיָה בְּיָדוֹ. וְאֵין נִפְשָׁע אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן מְרִידָה, כְּמוֹ דְּאָמַרְתְּ, מֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב פָּשַׁע בִּי (מל״‎ב ג, ז). וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, אָז תִּפְשַׁע לִבְנָה בָּעֵת הַהִיא (מל״‎ב ח, כב). וּמִדְיָנִים כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן. מִדְיָנִים שֶׁעָשָׂה כְּנֶגְדוֹ, פְּלֵטִים. כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן, שֶׁחָלַק עַל מֹשֶׁה וְעַל הַמָּקוֹם. וַיִּקַּח, אֵין וַיִּקַּח אֶלָּא מְשִׁיכַת דְּבָרִים רַכִּים, שֶׁמָּשַׁךְ כָּל גְּדוֹלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַסַּנְהֶדְרָאוֹת אַחֲרָיו. בְּמֹשֶׁה הוּא אוֹמֵר, וְיִקַּח מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה (במדבר א, יז). וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, קַח אֶת אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ (ויקרא ח, ב). וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, קְחוּ עִמָּכֶם דְּבָרִים וְשׁוּבוּ וְגוֹ' (הושע יד, ג). וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר, וַתֻּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה בֵּית פַּרְעֹה (בראשית יב, טו). הֱוֵי, וַיִּקַּח קֹרַח, שֶׁבִּדְבָרִים רַכִּים מָשַׁךְ לִבָּם. וַיִּקַּח קֹרַח. עַל יְדֵי מַה נֶּחֱלַק. עַל יְדֵי אֱלִיצָפָן בֶּן עֻזִּיאֵל אֲחִי אָבִיו, שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה נָשִׂיא עַל מִשְׁפַּחְתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וּנְשִׂיא בֵּית אָב לְמִשְׁפְּחוֹת הַקְּהָתִי אֲלִיצָפָן בֶּן עֻזִּיאֵל (במדבר ג, ל). אָמַר קֹרַח, אַרְבָּעָה אַחִים הָיוּ אֲחֵי אַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וּבְנֵי קְהָת עַמְרָם וְיִצְהָר חֶבְרוֹן וְעֻזִּיאֵל (שמות ו, יח). עַמְרָם הַבְּכוֹר, זָכָה אַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו לַכְּהֻנָּה, וּמֹשֶׁה אָחִיו לְמַלְכוּת. מִי רָאוּי לִטֹּל אֶת הַשְּׁנִיָּה לֹא הַשֵּׁנִי. וַאֲנִי בְּנוֹ שֶׁל יִצְהָר, הָיִיתִי רָאוּי לִהְיוֹת עַל מִשְׁפַּחְתִּי נָשִׂיא. וְהוּא עָשָׂה בְּנוֹ שֶׁל עֻזִּיאֵל קָטָן שֶׁל אֲחִי אַבָּא יְהֵא גָּדוֹל עָלַי. הֲרֵינִי חוֹלֵק וּמְבַטֵּל כָּל מַה שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה עַל יָדוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ הָיְתָה מַחֲלֻקְתּוֹ.

(Numb. 16:1:) “Now Korah betook himself.” This text is related (to Prov. 18:19), “A brother offended (rt.: psh') is more formidable than a fortified city; [such] contentions are like a castle bar.” The brother offended is Korah, in that he sided against Moses.1Numb. R. 18:1, 14. So he rebelled and sank from whatever glory that he possessed. Now offended (rt: psh') can only imply rebellion, since it is stated (in II Kings 3:7), “The king of Moab has rebelled (psh') against me.” It also says (in II Kings 8:22), “then did Libnah rebel (rt.: psh').” (Prov. 18:19:) “[Such] contentions are like a castle bar.” [The earth raised its bars against him like a castle.] (Prov. 18:19:) “Like a castle bar.” [These words also refer to Korah,] who sided against Moses and against the Omnipresent.2See the commentary of Enoch Zundel on Tanh., Numb.5:1. This explanation is also given by Issachar Berman Ashkenazi in his commentary, Mattenot Kehunnah, on Numb. R. 18:1. (Numb. 16:1:) “[Now Korah …] took.”3In this and some of the following sections, the midrash is explaining the fact that the transitive verb, TOOK, has no object. Biblical translations offer solutions such as translating the verb intransitively, e.g., BETOOK HIMSELF, or by supplying an object, e.g., TOOK MEN. “Took” can only be a word for "attracting with persuasive words," in that he attracted all the leaders of Israel and the sanhedraot [to follow] after him.4Numb. R. 18:2. Concerning Moses it is written (in Numb. 1:17), “So Moses and Aaron took these men.” And similarly it is written (in Numb. 8:2), “Take Aaron and his sons with him.” And so does it say (in Hos. 14:3), “Take words with you and repent….” And so does it [also] say (in Genesis 12:15), “and the woman was taken to the house of Pharaoh.” Ergo (in Numb. 16:1) “Now Korah […] took,” in that he drew (i.e., took) their hearts with persuasive words. (Numb. 16:1:) “Now Korah […] betook himself.” Because of what did he dissent? Because of Elizaphan, the son of his father's brother, who had been appointed prince (nasi) over his clan. So it says (in Numb. 3:30), “And the prince of the ancestral house for the Kohathite clan was Elizaphan ben Uzziel.” Korah said, “Father had four brothers.” It is so stated (according to Exod. 6:18), “And the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.” “As for Amram, the first-born; his son Aaron and his sons attained the high priesthood, and his brother Moses [attained] the kingship. So who deserves to get second [place]? Should it not be the second [son]? Now I am Izhar's son. I deserved to be prince of my clan, but he has appointed the son of Uzziel. Should the youngest of father's brothers become superior to me? See, I am dissenting and declaring everything invalid, whatever he had done.” Therefore, there was dissent.