Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim Of PTI On Parsha Korach

Striving to Make Peace
Korach, Dasan and Aviram. Not exactly top tier names when a baby boy is born. Indeed, within the Chumash, these names are nothing short of synonymous with utter discord and defiance. In Sefer Bamidbar, we are introduced to many individuals and groups who act in extremely abhorrent ways, yet the Baalei Musar refer to Sefer Bamidbar as Sefer Hamidos, the Sefer that teaches us the proper rules of conduct.
We interact with people all day. Very often, we encounter individuals that we do not get along with. Yet, our lives are governed by the Torah, which demands a higher level of conduct, recognizing at each moment that all human beings are created in the image of Hashem.
The most enigmatic people in this week’s Parsha are surely Dasan and Aviram. They have a long history of causing trouble. Our first introduction to them is when Moshe encountered the pair in the midst of a quarrel. Moshe screams “Rasha, Lamah Sakeh as Rei’acha – Wicked man–why do you strike your friend?” (Shemos 2:13) Their response is even more shocking. “Hal’hargeini … Will you kill us like the Mitzri you murdered yesterday?” insinuating that they are going to report Moshe to the authorities. It is hard to imagine such a level of insolence. Moshe says, “Achen Noda Hadavar – Now the matter is known.” (Shemos 2:14) Rashi tells us Moshe was saying that he now knew why the Bnei Yisroel were in Galus – exile– since there were informers! And indeed, they did report Moshe to the authorities, causing Moshe to flee from Mitzrayim to Midyan to escape certain execution.
One would assume that this wicked duo perished during the plague of darkness when 4/5ths of the Jewish people who were not deserving of being taken out of Egypt died. Yet, much to our surprise, they survived. Why?
Rav Shimon Schwab explains the mystery. Because Dasan and Aviram believed in Hashem and stood at Har Sinai and said Na’aseh V’nishma- we will do and we will hear- they merited to be taken out of Mitzrayim. Nonetheless, they had a personal issue with Moshe Rabbeinu. They felt he was improperly usurping all the power, which should have been shared with others (including them, of course!). Rav Schwab suggests they were also angry with Moshe as a result of having been punished with poverty for informing on Moshe (Gemara Nedarim).
So here we have Dasan and Aviram, who have a personal vendetta against Moshe. Our normal inclination is to focus on the negative behaviors of Dasan and Aviram, so that when similar situations arise, we will know what conduct needs to be avoided.
However, doing this alone potentially has a great pitfall. Do you remember telling yourself that you definitely will not copy certain negative language or actions of your teachers and parents?  Yet, much to your surprise, you find yourself as an adult or parent doing and saying those exact things! Why is that?  Rav Wolbe zt”l tells us that when a challenging situation arises, most of the time, our brains cause us to react automatically based on past experiences, even if those experiences are negative. The only way to ensure a positive response is to affirmatively replace the bad reactions with the proper reactions. How? One excellent way is to watch talmidei chachamim; to be trained by their actions, rather than go on auto-pilot and be governed by negative experiences and environmental influences.
If we focus on how Moshe interacted with these instigators, we will be surprised to see the extent of how we are expected to treat and interact positively with those with whom we do not get along.
Despite the treachery of Dasan and Aviram in reporting Moshe to Pharoah and challenging his power, Moshe appointed them as Kri’ei Ha’ideh – leaders of assembly, who are seated in front at all public gatherings. Moshe, the leader of the Jewish people, also tried to dissuade them from taking part in the dispute regarding his power, even going to their tent.  Rashi tells us from here we learn that one needs to take positive action to put an end to any disagreement. Moshe did so even after Dasan and Aviram responded with unprecedented insolence, saying “even if you would poke out our eyes we will not come speak with you!” (Korach 16:14)
Moshe Rabbeinu is teaching us how one must treat the other party in a disagreement One must place his personal honor and pride aside and accord the other party honor and respect in trying to settle the dispute!
May Hashem help us train ourselves to act and treat all people with the honor they deserve and to learn from appropriate role models.
Practical Halacha: 
Halachos of Tzedakah – Maaser Part 4
by Rabbi Gershon West
Maggid Shiur
Maximum Amount of Tzedakah
Is there a maximum amount of money that one is permitted to give away each year to tzedakah? The Gemara in Kesubos[i] says Chazal stipulated one may not spend more than a fifth of one’s profits on tzedakah each year. The reason is because if one he exceeds this, he may then need to take tzedakah himself. Therefore, they made a takanah not to give away more than a chomesh to tzedakah.
The Rema in Shulchan Aruch[ii] brings this Halacha to not give away more than a chomesh of his profits to tzedakah.
Exceptions to the Chomesh Cap
Are there any exceptions to this rule? The Gemara in Kesubos[iii] tells the story of Mar Ukva. When Mar Ukva passed away, he left half of his assets for tzedakah. The Gemara explains that only during a person’s lifetime is he restricted to giving a chomesh. This is because he may give away so much tzedakah that he may need to take tzedakah himself. However, when a person passes away, there is no longer that issue. Therefore, Mar Ukva was permitted to give away more than a chomesh when he passed away.
Rema[iv] brings this Gemara and states the halacha that one may bequeath in his will as much money as he likes to tzedakah. This implies there are no limitations at all[v].

However, Rabbi Akiva Eiger[vi] quotes the Shiltos DeRav Achai Gaon that the gift to tzedakah at the time of one’s passing is limited to a third of one’s assets.  Apparently, the Rav Achai Gaon had a different girsah in the Gemara in Kesubos that said a third instead of a half.

Others[vii] state the halacha based on our girsah in the Gemara, which permits up to a half of one’s assets.
The Meiri[viii] writes that how much a person should give to tzedakah in his will depends on numerous factors.  How much did he miss the opportunity to give to tzedakah during his lifetime? How many assets does he have and how many children does he have who will inherit those assets? The amount he should leave to tzedakah depends on these questions. The Meiri seems to say that one may give as much tzedakah as one wishes, and he is not limited to a third or a half of his assets.[ix]

[i]דף נ ע”א.
[ii]סימן רמט ס”א.
[iii]כתובות דף סז ע”ב.
[iv]סימן רמט ס”א.
[v]עיין בפרי מגדים או”ח סימן תרנו ס”ק ב במ”ז.
[vi]בגליון השו”ע.
[vii]פרי מגדים או”ח סימן תרנו ס”ק ב במ”ז, וצוין ברעק”א.
[viii]כתובות סז ע”ב.
[ix]בדרך אמונה פ”ז ממתנ”ע ס”ק כו משמע דנקט דגם לפי המאירי השיעור הוא מחצה או שליש. אמנם עיין בשט”מ בדף נ ע”א בשם תר”י דמותר לבזבז כמה שירצה רק שישאיר קצת ליורשיו, עיי”ש.ועיין ערוה”ש סימן רמט ס”א וחכמ”א כלל קמד סי”ב.

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