"Now Korach, the son of Yitzhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi took [men…and rose up against Moses]." (Num. 16:1) Rabbi Aba opened [his discourse with the verse]: "[words of Torah] are to be desired more than gold, even much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." (Psalms 19:11) How sublime [the word used “ilayeen” hints at the the Torah of the world of Atzilut] are words of Torah, and how precious [hinting at the world of Beriya] they are. They are desired [hinting at the world of Yetzira] above and they are desired by all [in the physical world of doing/Asiya] because they constitute the Holy Name [i.e. the words of Torah read together are actually one of the Names of G‑d]. Whoever toils in the Torah [whether to understand a rule or any other form of learning] is considered as though he is toiling for the Holy Name and is saved from all. He is saved in this world [from all troubles in the merit of the value of his toil] and rescued in the World to Come [from all accusers].

Come and see: whoever toils in the Torah is connected to the Tree of Life
[the sefira of tiferet] and, since he is connected to the Tree of Life, he is part of everything [since tiferet is connected to all of the six sefirot of Zeir Anpin and flows life to all of them] as is written: "it [the Torah] is a Tree of Life to those who hold on to it...." (Prov. 3:18)

Rabbi Yitzhak said that whoever toils in the Torah is free from everything, even free from [attachment of the kelipot which are the level of] death, as mentioned, since liberty dwells upon him [saving from all evil] and is connected to him. [Tiferet is connected above to bina, the sefira of understanding from which flows freedom from the shackles of ignorance and manipulation by outside forces.] If Israel had adorned themselves with Torah, they would have been saved from everything and would not have found themselves in exile. This is what is written: "engraved [in Hebrew, 'charut'] upon the tablets." (Ex. 32:16) Do not read it "charut/engraved" but rather "cherut/freedom" since this freedom is found in the Torah. [The freedom that comes from bina flows down and enclothes Zeir Anpin also called “the Written Torah”] The Torah is the power of the right [related to chesed], as it is written: "from His right hand went a fiery law for them," (Deut. 33:2) and the left [of gevura] is included in the right. Whoever makes the right into left [as the wicked who change the attribute of mercy into judgment] and the left into right [by believing that the physical world alone, represented by the sefira of malchut, provides abundance without receiving it from a spiritual source] is as if he destroys the world.

Come and see! Aaron [the priesthood] is from the right side [of chesed] and the Levites are from the left [of gevura]. Korach wanted to exchange right for left [for he, a Levite, wanted to take the priesthood, intending that the world would be ordered by the sefira of malchut alone not according to the array of the Tree of Life], therefore, he was punished. Furthermore, he spoke slander [when he spoke against Moses] and was punished for everything.1

Rabbi Yehuda said, "The left is always contained in
[and rectified by] the right [so that the chassadim/kindness sweetens the harshness of the gevurot/stern judgment]. Korach wished to change the manner in which the world is rectified above and below [for Korach wanted that the left, the Levites, rule the physical world and not be contained in and subject to the kohanim, the right. This switch eliminates the middle column that separates between the two sides of the Tree of Life and ends in the sefira of malchut that receives from both right and left. Korach wanted the sefira of gevura to become the sefira of malchut.] Therefore, he was destroyed from above and below.

"Now Korach...took." (Num. 16:1) What is the meaning of "took"? [i.e. What did he take?] He took faulty counsel for himself. If one chases after something that does not belong to him, it flees from him and he even loses what he has. Korach chased after something [the priesthood] that was not his. Therefore, he lost his own [privileges as a Levite] and did not gain the other [the priesthood].

Korach turned to dissention. What is the meaning of dissention? Conflict and division; the separation and division of what is above and below. [By removing Moses, who represented the middle column of tiferet and yesod that leads to malchut , and leaving gevura to influence malchut, Korach was separating out the influence of the middle column of the Tree of Life.] Whoever wishes to postpone the rectification of the universe [properly run in accordance with the array of sefirot in the Tree of Life] will become lost from all the worlds. Conflict is a distancing of peace, and whoever is in conflict with peace is in disagreement with His Holy Name, because His Holy Name is called 'peace'. [Shalom/peace is a synonym for the sefira of tiferet and also yesod that contain all the flow from the rest of the sefirotic array as a result of making “peace” between the left and right side of the Tree. The world – malchut – receives all its abundance from the sefira of yesod that contains the benefits of this “peace” between the two sides of the Tree of Life by containing all of their influences and leading them to malchut. Without peace/yesod the world is left bereft of all this abundant flow].

Come and see! The world is not sustained by anything other than peace. When G‑d created the world, it could not endure until He came and made peace dwell upon it. What is it [the peace that He made to dwell upon them]? It is the Shabbat, through which peace dwells in the upper and the lower levels. And then the world endured. [Therefore] whoever creates contention will be lost from the world.

[An example of this:] Zelophehad was in contention with the Shabbat by gathering wood. What were these trees? [What do they hint at?] These were trees of others [of the knowledge of good and evil and their ministers – Meta‑tron and Samech Mem] as we mentioned [earlier Zohar on Shelach, 157a] and these [trees] are secular [i.e. not connected with the Holy Shabbat that is a higher level entirely] and secular concerns do not prevail with sanctity [thus Tzelofehad created] conflict with the peace of the world [for he dealt with the secular on Shabbat].

Rabbi Yosi says that it is written : "They who love Your Torah have great peace." (Psalms 119:165) The Torah is peace, as is written: "and all her paths are peace". (Prov. 3:17)

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does the above mean to you and why is it revealed to you now?

Above and Below. Right and Left. Good and Evil. Tree of Life, Tree of Death. Chesed and gevura. Kohen and Levite.

So we have Korach. What did Korach "take"?

He sought that which was not his true portion. Korach was, oh so high, even prophetic, and he saw that our great prophet Samuel would be his descendant. But with all this highness spiritually, it did not serve him any good.

For the basic reason we are here is to know OUR job, and to do it well.

Nothing more. Nothing less. When we get to Heaven we are not going to be asked "Why were you not more like Moses?" Rather, we will be asked, Why were you not more like ('your name')? Korach took that which was not his. It would be like a ballet dancer trying to be a carpenter.

"Know thyself" said lehavdil Socrates. Good advice for the nations, good advice for ourselves.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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