What really affects us?

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

It’s difficult when our spouse is not satisfied with us, and the wife of Korach was not satisfied. Why did Korach start a needless rebellion against Moshe and Aharon? Our sages tell us that his wife dripped poison into his ears: “Look at Moshe and Aharon and look at you. Look how they have taken for themselves all the important jobs and you are not getting anywhere in life.” Korach heard these lies and little by little was persuaded to rebel.

But our sages draw our attention to another personality in the parasha: the wife of On ben Pelet whose role was opposite that of Korach’s wife. Her husband had already been carried away by Korach’s rebellion yet she saved her husband with her wisdom and managed to keep him outside the bounds of the unfolding story.

One woman built up, the other tore down, and in the end we learn what affects us most in life: the messages we hear at home. Living room conversations, the atmosphere, the values, the jokes we hear at home. What seem like important matters of ideological significance, such as the rebellion of Korach, begin with what we hear at the end of the day when we get home from work and the front door is closed, in the small talk we make inside, between the living room and the kitchen.

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