Korach – Honey Catches More Flies than Vinegar
In our weekly Shabbat morning study of Tanakh we recently discussed the events at Mt. Carmel, where Elijah demonstrated the futility of pagan worship and the great power of the Lord. At a showdown between Elijah and 850 pagan priests Elijah was the clear winner. Jezebel, upset by Elijah’s mockery of her pagan culture, issued a death threat to Elijah and he immediately fled. Commentaries explain that despite having wowed the entire nation, gaining their allegiance to the Lord of Israel, Elijah knew that on the morrow everyone would return to their prior habits, dismissing the supernatural events of yesterday. Jezebel’s death threat indicated that she knew well the fickle nature of the people, and that Elijah’s spectacular win would not gain him any enduring political credibility.
So Elijah fled, eventually arriving in the Sinai desert, crouching in the same cave where Moses stood when pleading for God’s forgiveness of his nation. Elijah despaired of Israel’s future. He complained to God that he alone remained a prophet of the Lord, and that in all of Israel there were just 7000 Jews faithful to their heritage.
The Lord then taught Elijah a lesson. God brought out all the forces of nature to demonstrate their terrible and magnificent power. A great tempest blew, shifting boulders and changing the landscape with its power. “But not in the tempest was God.” (1 Kings 19:11) A volcanic fire then erupted, but God was not present in the fire. The earth shook and rumbled, but the Lord was not in the quake. After the earth had calmed and the tempest subsided was there a thin and quiet voice, and the Lord proceeded to communicate with Elijah.
In the Torah portion of Korach we see a clear villain of th