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Parshas Korach - Vision is Understanding    2 Tammuz 5782

07/01/2022 02:05:51 PM


This Dvar Torah is sponsored by Alan and Elisheva Green in memory of Elisheva's mother, Rivka Rus bas Hugo z"l, on her Yahrzeit Gimmel Tammuz 3

I remember throughout my early childhood that all my friends had a favorite superhero. Today may be no different, but back then there were fewer to choose from. Some kids were into the Marvel comics while others, including myself who wouldn’t dare miss an episode on television. Just as it is typically the book that precedes the movie, so, too, the comic book came before the television show. Perhaps it was the time unique to when I was born that caused me to be especially attracted to the original superhero, Superman. Superman debuted in Action Comics #1 (June 1938) in a story written by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He's generally considered the first comic book superhero, so there was no set formula for how this kind of character should behave. Although it is debatable as to who was the genuine first superhero, some say the Phantom, created by Lee Falk (USA), was the first superhero who debuted in his own newspaper comic strip in Feb. 1936. The machlokes/argument centers around whether the  comic book, a comic strip, or a cartoon,  determine who – or what was the first superhero. 

I never got into Marvel comic books (although maybe I should have), rather it was the television series of Superman that I really enjoyed. As a kid I thought I was watching the Superman series for the first time, not realizing WPIX was playing old re-runs every afternoon at 4:30. I never missed an episode and never understood why Batman was more popular, since obviously Superman had far greater powers. (OK, that’s for another drasha). Super strength, flight and amazing heat vision are just a few of his most noteworthy powers, but his X-Ray vision is regularly overlooked. However, even though he had the amazing ability to see through wood, cloth, metal, and plastic, he was unable to see through lead – a major weakness in his super talents.

We are all aware of the fact that science fiction is always ahead of its time, and it’s only a matter of time before the imagination becomes a reality. One of the leaders in world technology is… yup! you guessed it, an Israeli company. Israeli military can ‘see through walls’ thanks to a new sci-fi radar device. The Xaver 1000 can detect people and objects from 42meters away through the thickest of walls, according to a guide provided by the manufacturer. The Xaver 1000 provides real-time feedback on lifeforms and objects that are obstructed by walls. The Xaver 1000 opens its wings like a bat while the AI-powered software tracks live and static objects.

The machine maps out targets wherever they are located in the room, whether they are sitting or standing. It even has the resolution to map specific body parts. It is able to distinguish adults, children, and animals.  Camero-Tech, the manufacturer of the Xaver-1000, believes its high-performance technology has applications in military and law enforcement-related scenarios. "The system creates an unprecedented situational awareness 3D visual picture, providing a clear operational advantage and the ability to 'step into the known," the company stated.

The Xaver-1000 requires just one operator to review the feedback in two-dimensional or three-dimensional renderings on the 10-inch screen attached to the body of the device. The machine sends out radar pulses and then reassembles the returning signal as a three-dimensional image using ultra-wide sensors, patented technologies, and algorithms. Camero-Tech says the Xaver 1000, along with their other products, is also used in search and rescue missions. The company states that "The system offers a first-of-its-kind capability to map the general shape of the room or structure, viewing behind the wall or under collapsed ceilings." When the mission is complete, the Xaver 1000 wings collapse, and the 36-pound machine and battery pack can be transported as a compact bundle. This is beyond the ordinary X-ray machine that can see into our bodies. The fact that an average person can use this technology is almost superhuman!

Although technology affords us great advances in the physical realm, it will never replace the system of “seeing” in the spiritual world. The ability to see is not limited to something physical; seeing, perceiving, processing  requires both wisdom and insight in order to read a situation and meet the challenge of dealing with it properly. One of the most profound examples of this is found in a classic story of the Torah. In this week’s Parshas Korach the Torah relates the showdown between Moshe Rabbeinu and his first cousin Korach.

Korach was a great man, Dasan and Aviram, sons of Eliav of the tribe of Reuvein were, according to many, men of great caliber and the two hundred fifty Nesiim of the tribe of Reuvein were of special stock. If so, we need to understand how such a tragedy could take place.  Korach was an anarchist who really had a hidden agenda. I heard a beautiful explanation by Rav Yitzchok Breitowitz who spoke of the greatness of Moshe through use of his great x-ray vision. Korach came to Moshe and the people declaring that every Jew is close to God and is therefore capable of figuring out how to serve Hashem. Challenging Moshe’s authority by asking “what gives you -Moshe - the ability, the right, to lead me and the people and tell me how to serve God”? This is stated in Bamidbar 18:3 "ויקהלו על משה ועל אהרן ויאמרו אלהם רב לכם, כי כל העדה כלם קדושים ובתוכם ה', ומדוע תתנשאו על קהל ה'"  “They demonstrated against Moshe and Aharon, and declared to them, ‘You have gone too far!’ All the people in the community are holy, and God is with them. Why are you placing yourselves above God’s congregation?” When one looks at most rebellions and challenges for ‘equality’, one comes to realize that it is not about equality at all; it is about a power grab. “Why are you the leader if we are all ‘equal’! exclaimed Korach. Indeed, they were not fighting for equality. They were fighting for total control. Moshe sees through the deceit of Korach and completely ignores his claim by answering back, ”Why are you so dissatisfied? What do you really want?” Korach was not saying that he had been short changed, rather he professed to be defending and speaking on behalf of the people. Moshe, however, with his perceptive vision sees this is as a hidden agenda. We read this in Moshe’s response to him [Korach] in Bamidbar 18: 8,9 Moshe tried to reason with Korach: “Listen [to what I have to say], you sons of Levi. Isn’t it enough that the God of Israel has separated you from the community of Israel? He has brought you close to Him, allowing you to serve in God’s Tabernacle and to minister as the community’s leaders.

Moshe saw Korach for who he truly was.  He had been given plenty of honor and was well-invested in serving Hashem. Yet, Korach uses the tactic that he is speaking only for the people. Moshe would not allow Korach’s jealousy and desire of power come to fruition through Korach’s claim of equality. Korach, indeed, had equality to Moshe, but Korach was not in the number one position, and he was not satisfied with his place of second-in-rank honor which he and his tribe of Levi received.

Moshe’s ability to see and to evaluate Korach’s true intentions are addressed, as he [Moshe] almost ignores the initial claim of Korach on behalf of the people. We view situations every day, be it at work, at home, with family, with friends, co-workers and even strangers. As a boy I yearned for Superman-level  x-ray vision.Today I ask for the x-ray vision of Moshe Rabbeinu!

Ah Gutten Shabbos

Rabbi Avraham Bogopulsky

Tue, October 3 2023 18 Tishrei 5784