June 27th, 2009
By Arthur Harrow
Today we read the story of the Great Rebellion, where a series of people, most
prominently Korach, rose up and challenged the authority of Moses---and by extension that of God, who had appointed Moses. The question of rebellion or mutiny is not some theoretical Torah problem like what would happen if you tried to schect a chicken with the wrong size razor; I can tell you that during my two years as a synagogue president not a week went by without someone telling me how much better they could do my job. It happens in my practice, it happens on committees I sit on; it’s a part of human nature. It’s a prominent part of Christian theology---Lucifer felt he should be the guy in charge, and from that sense of envy arose sin and death.
I can understand how the Lord felt when dealing with Korach and the other rebels; like
Him, I have frequently been tempted to smite my critics and let the earth swallow them, roast their colleagues to a succulent medium-well, and condemn their sons to write song lyrics; but this would miss the teachable moment: telling the guy who’s sure he could do better that this is his chance; let’s see what he does when he’s in charge.
That brings me to the main topic today, which I will call:
What Would Bruce Do?
By Arthur Harrow
Three things of note this week. First, we read in our Torah portion the story of the
Redemption at the Yam Suf. Second we note the passing of Coretta Scott King, icon of the black Civil Rights movement. Third, we note the passing of Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and the driving figure behind the “second wave” of American feminism. What is the common thread here?