Korach is the philosophical progenitor of postmodern egalitarianism. Suffused with self-allocated, chimeric rank, Korach attempts to deconstruct the assigned and stratified roles legally ordained through Moshe’s direct Godly interaction. There is a biblical prohibition, with tenure today,
“not to be like Korach and his assemblage.”
The parameters of this prohibition are not singular. One parameter is defined as negating the importance of every Jew attaching themselves to an exemplary teacher and role model of Torah.
This morning as I watched an unrelated youtube snippet sent to me, the
“next suggested youtube”
was of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe z’l, whose Yohr Tzeit is on Shabbos. I clicked.
Fortuitously, the Rebbe asked,
“the Talmud says that the teacher one should adhere to, is the imitato dei (as characterised by a holy angel). However, if one has never even seen a holy angel how does one choose the virtuous teacher?”
He answered, quoting the Talmud in Yevamos, that the archetypical Jew exudes the traits of mercy, self-effacedness and kindness. Furthermore, these traits are self-evident and not “advertised”.
Indeed, after he left his father’s house, the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s own role-modeled teacher became his father-in-law, the Rayatz. As noted by Rav Soloveitchik* (whose role model after he left his father’s house, was Rav Chaim Heller), based on an explicit Rashi in the book of Bereishis, even after a prime teacher’s demise, one should implant the teacher, who is spiritually a part of the mosaic soul, in front of him and interrogate that behavioural reality to determine major decisions we confront in life.
There is no antinomian expression intended in the above. Both sides of the coin: the Baal HaTanya and the Nefesh HaChaim describe the soul of the Tzadik teacher and mentor through the same prism.
- the source for this view of the Rav is in Mori V’Rabbi, Rav Schachter’s Nefesh HoRav.