The Torah, “Numbers,” 16:1 – 16:3: Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi took [himself to one side] along with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, descendants of Reuben. They confronted Moses together with two hundred and fifty men from the children of Israel, chieftains of the congregation, representatives of the assembly, men of repute.
They assembled against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”
The idea is that the leaders of the community wanted to attain the same level that Moses had attained, not to get rid of him.
Midrash Raba, the weekly chapter of “Korach”: What did the Jewish nation attain under your leadership? Because of you life has become much more difficult than in Egypt. We are paying a contribution to the priests and a tithe to the Levites and, in addition to that, the priests receive 24 different gifts from us. What is more every year 15,000 Jews die in the desert.
Isn’t it enough for you, Moses, that you have complete control? Why have you given your brother the post of the great priest! In the meantime, neither of you have any right to declare yourselves as the head of the congregation all of whose members are holy and among which Divinity dwells.
Korah and his men were so furious that they were ready to stone Moses and Aaron.
This is how the internal egoistic rebellion is revealed in a person. Attributes that say that it is possible to attain complete resemblance to the Creator appear, not through the attributes of Moses and Aaron, but in another way that is better and shorter, without any special efforts.
15,000 men die in the desert every year, and it is natural because all of the generation of the desert must die. Only the new generation born there will enter the land of Israel.
Therefore, a person’s desires—called Korah, Dathan and Aviram, etc.—believe that it is possible to follow a different path that is shorter and less tragic. If they begin to manage it, it will be a different path.
In other words, he can bring all of his desires called “the nation” to work more efficiently with the intention of in order to bestow to the entire world and, through them, unto the Creator, as compared to the ideology and the method that he received with the attribute of Moses.
Now, he sees that there is another force with which he can advance and thus begins to have doubts.
Question: What does it mean that 15,000 men die in the desert?
Answer: 15,000 multiplied by 40 years (levels) is 600,000, which means the entire generation. All of the 600,000 attributes must die. There is a complete renewal; the previous level totally disappears.
The slaves cannot become freemen to live in desires that previously were enslaved. Egoism used to go wild in those desires—hatred manifested, Mt. Sinai—and they could use them to bestow by correcting them from hate to love, but now it is impossible. First, you must undergo states in which you totally annul yourself, and this is a feeling of death.
Korah wanted the generation of the desert to skip these levels and enter the land of Israel. This is a problem we have along the entire way of the spiritual path. The sons of Aaron, Nadav, and Avihu and all the others also wanted to skip this level.
And they would do it if they weren’t afraid of the giants that the spies had told them about. Then, they could have entered the land of Israel immediately. But in order to do so, they had to ascend to the level of faith above reason. But they couldn’t ascend to that level and, therefore, they are correcting it now.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 5/20/15