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Three Strikes

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 27/6/2019

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   Three Strikes

The Pasuk states דור הולך ודור בא; a generation goes and a generation comes.[1] The wording should be the opposite since a generation first comes to the world and then leaves? The Pasuk therefore alludes to the concept of גלגולים; reincarnation, as it means a generation that already came.


With this concept, we can view those of the עדת קרח; assembly of Korach in a deeper way. These were the same as those of the דור הפלגה. By them it says let us build a city and a tower… ונעשה לנו שם; let us make a name for ourselves.[2] Likewise, regarding the עדת קרח, it says they were אנשי שם; men of renown.[3]


These were later reincarnated as אנשי סדום; the men of Sodom. Concerning the men of Sodom, it saysואנשי העיר אנשי סדם....[4] This can also mean the אנשי העיר; men of the city and tower (referring to the דור הפלגה) are the same ones as the אנשי סדום.


They were then reincarnated as the עדת קרח. This is alluded to in ויקומו לפני משה[5] which can also be interpreted as they were around before Moshe- that is, in a previous Gilgul.[6] Consequently, Targum Unkolos comments on ויקח קרח with the word [7]ואתפלג. R’ Bachaye tells us this is a hint to the דור הפלגה.[8]


In this light, we can grasp why it saysהעיני האנשים ההם תנקר; even if you gouge out the eyes of those men…[9] Why is this written as if it already happened? This can be best understood through the following metaphor. A father who has a foolish son that is not following the straight path, at first scolds him. If that doesn’t work, he then hits and disciplines him. By the third time, he may give up and send him away as it says ...וישלחם ביד פשעם; He delivered them into the hand of their own transgression.[10] The same applies here. First Hashem scattered the דור הפלגה. The second time- by Sodom- it says הכו בסנורים; they were struck with blindness[11] (similar terminology to that of העיני האנשים ההם תנקר). Finally, by the עדת קרח they were uprooted and destroyed from the world.[12]

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Koheles 1:4

[2] Breishis  11:4

[3] Bamidbar 16:2

[4] Breishis 19:4

[5] Bamidbar 16:2

[6] This explains why those so young were punished just as the young ones by Sodom were (Breishis 19:11, Bamidbar 16:27).

[7] 16:1

[8] 16:29. It is of course no coincidence that the Gemara (Sanhedrin 109) discusses the דור הפלגה followed by the אנשי סדום and then the  עדת קרחas they were reincarnations of each other!

[9] Bamidbar 16:14

[10] Iyov 8:4

[11] Breishis 19:11

[12] Bamidbar 16:32-3

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