Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
When external success does not match up with internal character traits there is a problem – whether we are talking about Korach or a football star on Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Korach was a man who was rich, successful, and held an esteemed position in the community. But alongside his development as a knowledgeable person who knew how to get ahead, he forgot to develop positive character traits. Moshe and Aharon, on the other hand, were full of humility, love, and good-heartedness and only because of these qualities did they become leaders of the nation.
Rav Moshe-Zvi Neria writes: “The tragedy of humanity is that an increase in knowledge and success does not parallel moral development. It’s a disaster when a person rises to greatness without first investing the best of his powers in personal improvement.”
Korach did not succeed in controlling his envy and his lust and this inability led him to a deadly confrontation. The fact that someone is a “network star,” “a football star,” or a “famous singer” does not tell us anything about what’s going on inside of that person. (It must be said that sometimes the trial such a person must face is more difficult than that of ordinary people). Rabbi Nahman speaks about imposters whose claim to fame is superficial and cautions all of us to be aware of the gap between external success and internal failure that often ends – as in Korach’s case – in tragedy.