Thursday, July 24, 2008

Korach redo #3- The defense mechanism in the community of mind

In the previous post we noted the general principle of psychic defense. The psyche accepts its own ultimate value as self evident. This ultimate value will express itself in the belief that success must be easy to implement. This sense of entitlement to easy success will be “justified” by boom periods-natural cycles that promote success, but will be contradicted by “busts” natural cycles that promote failure. Corresponding to these cycles will be social cycles of confidence and despair, along with attendent leadership opportunities based upon the need for “hope” and “change”.

What remains to be explained is the application of this principle to Israel. As the material person seeks security in the face of cycles of boom and bust in economic and defense areas, the community of mind seeks security in the face of booms and bust in the area of principles of thought. The booms and busts correspond to insights and difficulty in attaining knowledge. These cycles can express itself in a variety of ways.
As Rambam points out in Chelek, there is a danger in the approach to knowledge. As man begins to gain wisdom, he is empowered in a technological sense. The Thomas Edison's, and indeed professionals generally, are vulnerable to confusing the particular principles they use technologically, with ultimate principles. As the saying goes a carpenter sees everything as a hammer. Rambam referred to this as the problem of “doctors”.

Thomas Kuhn in “structure of scientific revolution” documents the phenomenon of defense in terms of paradigmatic rigidity in more theoretical thought. The thinking community settles on its paradigm and then wants to proceed in securing accomplishments- Nobel prizes, PHD's, patents etc. Any deep questioning of the paradigm evokes terror that the community's very existence will be challanged. He who dares challenge consensus about Newtonian mechanics,relativity Quantum theory or Evolution faces the wrath of the entire thinking community.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Korach redo #2- the psyche's defenses

The psyche's defense of the belief in its own ultimate value is so fundamental, it presents itself in a myriad of cunning guises, each ideally suited to a particular developmental stage of man. This process of distortion, first described in the case of Chava, is amplified by Kohelet and Mishlei. Koheles describes the core principle by which the psyche defends its ultimate value (vanity attained through futile labor under the sun) and Mishlei works out the myriad of developmental forms the distortion can take. Each developmental stage has its own specific vulnerability to the distortion or “prostitution” of the soul called for by the psyche. Koheles points out the futility in attempting to impose an artificial order on the cycles of nature to prove one's vanity. Generation after generation of leaders will instill “hope” in man's ability to to produce “change”, but will fail.

1:1 The statements of Koheles, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:

1:2 “Vanity of vanities,” says Koheles; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” 1:3 What does man gain from all his labor in which he labors under the sun? 1:4 One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever. 1:5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it rises. 1:6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north. It turns around continually as it goes, and the wind returns again to its courses. 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. 1:8 All things are full of weariness beyond uttering. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 1:9 That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 1:10 Is there a thing of which it may be said, “Behold, this is new?” It has been long ago, in the ages which were before us. 1:11 There is no memory of the former; neither shall there be any memory of the latter that are to come, among those that shall come after.

The difference between the Western variety of fantasy, versus the Jewish one in the desert, lies in the developmental stage that fell prey to the same mechanism of distortion. The Western variety of immaturity lies in seeking material success in the economy and defense. As such it is vulnerable to sophistry of an Obama who promises easy ways out of what are, in reality, necessary natural cycles of economy and foreign affairs. This mentality is identified in the Torah as Egyptian, the "Deal" between Pharoah and the people. Pharoah, based upon his dreams, releases the people from cycles of famine. The people serve Pharoah as a deity.

The Jews of course began with this stage as well. They too were preoccupied with escaping the cycles of insecurity in the material goods. Post Torah however, another concern loomed large in their minds- position in the community of mind. In this the Jews were more similar to an academic community than a mass politics. In an academic community the allure of the psyche centers around accomplishment in "discovery". The goods are not food and security- but attainment and recognition- paradigms, papers, Nobel prizes and above all-
appointments. It is here we can understand the allure of Korach. Kedusha is critical to attainment in a community of mind. Only the mature detached or objective person can render intelligent judgement in any field. This recognition of maturity of detachment is identified and measured by appointment to significant office such as Sanhedrin or Kehuna. As such the appointment of Korach or someone else was very significant to the Sanhedrin and people generally. If Moshe did not recognize the detached judgment of the people in his appointments, what would happen to accomplishment? It is in this context that we must analyze Korach's theatrical arguments to the people.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Korach redo #1

After having had the opportunity to give this Korach post as a Shiur, I would like to redo it in light of the clarifications we attained. Thank you to all participants in the Shabbos and Sunday Classes! I will not repost Bamidbar 16, I assume everyone remembers the story as seen by Rashi.

According to the Rashi, though his true motive was personal ambition, Korach took great care to make his argument with Moshe appear to have broader significance. In this Korach behaved much like any modern political challenger-for example Barack Obama with his anti Bush arguments. “Bush lied people died” makes the impression that Obama's concern is for the people, rather than for personal gain. Today's war weary populace is indeed hungry for “change” and “hope”.

As we see in the case of Obama, challanges to existing leadership tend to focus upon two fundamental motivations of the people:
A) anger with the failure of actual leadership to deliver the goods (Bush lied people died”)
b) Excitement in the potential of new leadership to deliver the goods (“Change”; “hope”).What is very different between modern leadership struggles and that of Korach is the ease with which we can discern the motivations. It is relatively simple to understand the basis of Obama's emotional appeal. People would like to believe that painful things like wars and economic hardship are unnecessary and somehow able to be avoided. There must be some “change” that could have avoided this pain! All that is needed is a leader who can provide some "hope". But what is the basis of Korach's emotional appeal? While one can identify with the anger of parents who feel their children died needlessly, where is the great excitement in being denied ones proper Kedusha? Rashi attempts to deal with this difficulty by the midrash about techeiles and tzizis, but we still seem remote. In stark contrast to Obama, Korach's appeals, even according to Rashi, seem contrived and formulaic. While one could easily visualize a crowd dressed in blood red chanting “Bush lied people died” -where is the great theatrical effect in seeing members of Sanhedrin all dressed in techeiles blue? One can certainly understand the sentiment of “no more war” but what is the great appeal of Korach's vision of a “world without tzizit”? To understand Rashi, we must first gain insight into the phenomenon of leadership struggles in the familiar environment of contemporary politics. Only then will we be able to extrapolate to the Jews of the desert. To start then let us ask the fundamental question. What is basis of this behavior of our leaders who promise us “change”and “hope”?

The basis of leadership strategy lies in an immaturity of our nefesh which takes the ultimate value of our own existence for granted. The immature nefesh cannot fathom the difficulty that attaining good in the causal framework of Creation involves. How could it be possible that an entity as valuable as I would have to work so hard to succeed?! Surely there must be a "hope" that the environment could be "changed" so that success would be easy? Deep within the immature nefesh a snakelike voice sounds that rebels against the yoke of causality. In a most cunning fashion, the voice distorts the natural difficulty of attaining its good with an external power purposely holding it back. I am not to blame for my lack of success- something external is holding me back!

For leaders, this distortion of the immature nefesh is both a blessing and a curse. As the failure of previous leaders becomes more apparent, a blessing arises for new leadership- they can articulate the anger with the old leadership and raise “hope” in their ability to bring “change”. All too soon however, the immaturity shifts from a blessing to a curse-the very leader who promised “change” with an easy ten point plan, will himself be the source of anger and frustration. As everyone before him failed, he too inevitably fails to deliver a good unattainable with a few easy steps within the framework of causality. A cycle of leaders each of whom rise and fall like the changing tides emerges.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Korach #5: Answers to The family Rosenthal

Dear Pinny and family,

I can almost taste the sweet nectar of Eretz Yisrael on your post materially and Nafshayically- אשריכם !

Rabbi Rosenthal asks about the room full of Seforim. In essence I suggest that Korach satisfied the urge for security of paradigm, released from the preoccupation with reality testing of the Zocher. The result of this false security was an impatience with the process of gradually exploring the distortions the psyche imposes upon its place in Creation. This impatiencetranslated into contempt for tzizit and the tendency of mitzvos generally to immerse man in the realia of his interaction with the material environment. Rather than recognizing the mussar value of applying the fundamental principles again and again in one life scenario after another Korach attributed the mussar aspect of Mitzvos to the arrogance of Moshe Rabbenu. Rather than recognize the gift of liberation from distortion Mitzvos provide, Korach accused Moshe of fearing competition. Notice the similarity to the chayt of Adam ha-Rishon and Chava.

In line with this mezuza is also a symptom of the same problem. A room full of seforim is also a room dedicated to the objective of mind, a holy purpose detached from old style Egyptian problems. Why should a modern culture dedicated to thought -a room full of seforim- have to preoccupy itself with  zechira tools like mezuza like ancient primitives who would ecstatically dance around a calf at the drop of a hat?

Rebbetzin Rosenthal asks what about women. The issue that drives paradigm security is success, specifically political recognition. Women, by virtue of attachment to their home and children, less attracted by the allure of political appointment. They tend to connect to this attainment more like Michelle Obama than like Hillary Clinton. The torah reinforces this tendency by culturally reinforcing this tendency through limiting women's involvement in the necessary evil of political office as well. We see this in the wise counsel of Devorah to Barack. As much as Devorah was superior to Brack, she insisted that he should lead, for the benefit of the social structure. As such, if the male culture is properly effected by the zechira tools, female culture will follow. It is only when male culture is beyond the pale that the voice of Devorah's is overwhelmed as we see in Breeshis. Zacha- ezer lo zacha kinegdo!

Pinny asks about the specific of tzizit as opposed to tefillin tefilla etc. The tzizit is the primary mazkir because its essence lies in reframing clothing. Tefillin etc are based upon the kedusha of the shem hashem embedded in them. They are in essence a shem and secondarily a reframed cultural object. This is one level more abstract than tzizit that is in essence a beged and only secondarily an indicator of the shem via the hint of tcheiles. As such tzizit has no kedusha, but is more powerful as a mazkir because it is more part of our material world.

Again enjoy your time together and Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Korach Mutiny #5

It is in the context of insecurity about principles that we can understand the allure of Korach's vision of “clothing made all of tcheiles” and a “world without tzizit”. Man desperately wants a power of principles (yishuv daat ) that will be instrumental to acquiring his needs (yishuv aretz). A stable lifestyle requires a stable set of principles that can continuously secure these needs. It is for this reason that thoughtful men are always vulnerable to a set “paradigm” of principles that will secure their activity. Thomas Kuhn in “structure of scientific revolution” documents this paradigmatic rigidity. The thinking community settles on its paradigm and then wants to proceed in securing accomplishments- Nobel prizes, PHD's, patents etc. Any deep questioning of the paradigm evokes terror that the community's very existence will be challanged. He who dares challenge consensus about Newtonian mechanics,relativity Quantum theory or Evolution faces the wrath of the entire thinking community.
Such was the fate of Moshe Rabbenu. Korach crystallized the thinking community around a paradigm of thought that secured their principles against challenge. They were a holy community of thinkers no longer in need of constant reconsideration of the basis of their principles. Constant preoccupation with first principles is characteristic of primitives not a mature community of mind. A community of mind has thought embedded in its modern way of life-wears clothing of techeiles- and has no need for old style religion -tzizit.

Korach is the perfect representative of אויל pointed to by Yiras Hashem Reihees Daas Chochma umussar evillim bazu. The אויל flourishes by offering a false “paradigm” that releases thinkers from the indignity and fear of constant re-evaluation of core assumptions. He substitutes group think security through derision of those who challenge theoretical consensus rather than a strategy of slow and arduous reality testing of principles. “Zechira” is precisely the opposite approach to knowledge. The humble “zocher” constantly seeks applications of his core theoretical assumptions that test his understanding. Far from seeing himself as a great “tcheiles person” and seeking a “world without tzizit” the “zocher” relishes each and every life scenario as a new opportunity to test his principles and make them more clear.

The Mitzvot are designed with this very feature of reality testing in mind- they are the very basis of creating a theoretical community shielded from the allure of group think. The true thinking community acknowledges the true weakness of the human mind and its slow manner of testing principles. It keeps the need to see tcheiles principles embedded in the white tzizit strings of everyday material life at the forefront of its methodology. As Chazal say in Menachot tzizit identifies this essential purpose of reality testing accomplished by the Mitzvot tools and therefore is equal to all Mitzvot. It reminds of the dependence of our principles (“Dvarim”) upon reality testing to overcome the security need of our psyche (Vihayu haDvarim.. al livavecha) that is a core lesson of Keriat shema- the “ole” in ole malchut shamayim. Only the one commited to this program of reality testing can hope to succeed and “recieve the shechina”.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Korach mutiny #4

As we mentioned in the previous post, our problem with Korach's mutiny lies in our relationship to tzizit, which for us is more of a formality than a living experience. The sort of natural intuition that we use with politics is lacking when we think of tzizit. We must answer a series of fundamental questions if we are to understand the basis of Korach's challenge. What is “zechira”? Why is “zechira” so intimately connected to tzizit generally and tchailes in specific? Moreover we would like to get greater clarity about Korach's argument presented in Rashi. As was previously mentioned in Korach Mutiny #2, Chazal have a lot to say about the significance of tzizit in the quotes in menachot. But the Chazal's in Menachot are not that helpful in disclosing the human experience that “zechira” refers to. What we need is a fundamental insight into “zechira”.

Let us first summarize the Chazal from Menachot 43b to help us in gaining this insight.

According to Chazal tzizit:
1)Is equal to all the Mitzvot 2) Protects man from all Chayt
3) Merits those who wear it in seeing the Shechina

In addition, tzizit,because of techeiles:

1)has the unique ability to remind us of Keriat Shema. This is because Keriat Shema is said at the time we can discern techeiles from the white tzizit strings. Finally,
2)According to R Meir, tzizit is colored tchailes because it reminds of of the sky and the throne of God.

The key to insight into the human experience underlying tzizit, I think, lies in the last statement of R. Meir. After all, it was tcheiles that formed the core of Korach's argument according to Rashi.

It was taught‭: ‬R‭. ‬Meir used to say‭, ‬Why is blue specified from all the other colors‭ [‬for this precept‭]? ‬Because blue resembles the colour of the sea‭, ‬and the sea resembles the color of the sky‭, ‬and the sky resembles the color of‭ [‬a sapphire‭, ‬and a sapphire resembles the color of]‭ ‬the Throne of Glory‭, ‬as it is said‭, ‬”And there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone”,‭ ‬and it is also written‭, ‬”The likeness of a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone”.

The pasuk referred to by R Meir emerges from a highly suggestive story in Chumash regarding the “princes of Israel” in their quest for knowledge of Hashem. Rambam identifies these princes as the example of people who rush into knowledge, without proper preparation. The principle of R Meir then, seems to relate to this same issue. The techeiles of tzizit refers to man's quest for knowledge of Hashem, that expresses itself in exploring the nature of the beautiful motion of Shamayim and secondarily in the great phenomenon of Earth as it is impacted by the forces of Shamayim (the sea).

As Rambam points out in Chelek, there is a danger in the approach to knowledge. As man begins to gain wisdom, he is empowered in a technological sense. The Thomas Edison's,and indeed professionals generally, are vulnerable to confusing the particular principles they use technologically, with ultimate principles. As the saying goes a carpenter sees everything as a hammer. Rambam refferred to this as the problem of “doctors”.

As R Meir points out however, this mistake is a very severe one. The wisdom we see on Earth is but a reflection of that seen in Shamayim which itself points to the “throne of glory”. If we get stuck on a comfortable set of principles that appeals to us, or that we are good at, we will stop growing. We will also miss core opportunities practically, being unable to let go of the security of familiar principles in favor of new thinking. As Covey points out, this inflexibility in principle or “arrogance” is the core of most failures in practical affairs.
It is this insecurity in man that Korach saught to manipulate. The Jews had obviously gained some real progress in thought. They had heard mighty thoughts from Moshe and had begun chiddushim on their own. Unfortunately they confused the success they had with ultimate success. They became impatient with the slow painstaking approach to development advocated by Mitzvos. Rather than viewing their incomplete understanding of Mitzvos to their own immature principles, they blamed Moshe for holding them back. They were Tcheiles people not tzizit people- why did they have to be held back? Perhaps old Egyptian Jews caught up in Egyptian primitive culture needed tzizit. Not so the new Jew. Could it be that Jews whose entire culture was Chochma- whose clothing was all tcheiles- would need tzizit? Perhaps Moshe was enjoying his previous unique status as the only true thinker of Israel too much, unjustly holding back a holy nation released from primitive culture with obscure “mitzvos” of his own making!

Monday, July 14, 2008

korach mutiny #3

As pointed out by R Maroof, the general principle of Korach follows well known patterns- leadership seeks power by manipulating peoples desire to enjoy the benefits of success without the effort necessary because of the causal framework- Shichecha. In the case of Westerners this Shichecha expresses itself in the material realm of success, for the Jews in the Midbar the Shichecha was in the success of mind.

There is a tremendous difference however in these two kinds of Shicheha. We are well experienced with leaders strategies in manipulation of the childish shichecha of Western politics. Leaders manipulate the peoples insecurities for the benefit of their own power fantasies.

Most adults have gone through several political cycles with the attendant slogans and “visions” that guarantee material success. Because of of our principles and deep experience, we can explain the underlying motives of campaigns. Clearly, in a time of economic and military uncertainty, a leader will give feel good visions of rescue. We therefore have a clear sense of why Obama presents himself as the rock star messiah of “change” and “hope” and why Mccain presents himself as the stodgy proponent of “Reform prosperity peace”. As a young upstart politician, Obama seeks to gain power by appealing to the heady adrenalin rush of miraculous messianic “change”. As an older politician Mccain seeks to attain office through old style "father knows best" security.

In stark contrast, we are much less familiar with shichecha in the area of mind. What principle underlies such a community? If Obama and Mccain are utilizing the insecurity of our time, what insecurity did Korach see in Bnei Yisrael? What exactly is so appealing about an upstart explanation of tzitzit? What is the electric attraction of Korach's vision of clothing “made all of tcheiles” or a “world without tzizit”? To understand this we are going to have to penetrate into the mentality of tzizit so extensively described by Chazal in Menachot.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

korach mutiny #2

It seems that the Jewish body politic,despite its cultural resistance to visions, has its own unique vulnerability. The westerner's immaturity reflects itself in a desire to be taken care of by a seemingly powerful and beneficent leader in material affairs. Like a child, the immature nefesh yearns for the strong leader to magically release him from the effort involved in attaining his material needs in the realities of the causal world. The immature nefesh of the westerner wants to play, free of the mental focus and prudence needed to materially succeed.

While the Jews share the immaturity of wanting their needs to be attained magically, their focus lies not in immediate material need, but rather in the area of mind. The Jews desire a mental achievement and moral development attained without toil. This is the meaning of the area of tzizit that Rashi pinpoints.

לט וְהָיָה לָכֶם, לְצִיצִת, וּרְאִיתֶם אֹתוֹ וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם; וְלֹא-תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם, וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר-אַתֶּם זֹנִים, אַחֲרֵיהֶם. מ לְמַעַן תִּזְכְּרוּ, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת-כָּל-מִצְו‍ֹתָי; וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים, לֵאלֹהֵיכֶם

The significance of tzizit lies in “zechira” constantly remembering the immense effort needed to truly succeed in mental attainment and moral maturity. This “zechira” feature of tzizit is amplified by Chazal in Menachot 43b.

‮‘‬That ye may look upon it‮’‬‭? ‬‮—‬‭ ‬They require it for the following teaching‭: ‬‮‘‬‭ ‬That ye may look upon it‭, ‬and remember‮’‬‭, ‬that is‭, ‬look upon this precept and remember another precept that is dependent upon it‭, ‬namely‭, ‬the reading of the Shema‮’‬‭. ‬As we have learnt‭: ‬From what time in the morning may the Shema‮’‬‭ ‬be read‭? ‬From the time that one can distinguish between blue and white‭.‬ And another‭ [‬Baraitha‭] ‬taught‭: ‬‮‘‬That ye may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord‮’‬‭: ‬this precept is equal to all the precepts together.8‭ ‬And another‭ [‬Baraitha‭] ‬taught‭: ‬‮‘‬That ye may look upon it and remember‭ . . . ‬and do them‮’‬‭: ‬looking‭ [‬upon it‭] ‬leads to remembering‭ [‬the commandments‭], ‬and remembering leads to doing them‭. ‬R‭. ‬Simeon b‭. ‬Yohai says‭, ‬Whosoever is scrupulous in the observance of this precept is worthy to receive the Divine presence‭, ‬for it is written here‭, ‬‮‘‬That ye may look upon it‮’‬‭, ‬and there it is written‭, ‬Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God‭, ‬and Him shalt thou serve.

‭ ‬ Our Rabbis taught‭: ‬Beloved are Israel‭, ‬for the Holy One‭, ‬blessed be He‭, ‬surrounded them with precepts‭: ‬tefillin on their heads‭, ‬tefillin on their arms‭, ‬zizith on their garments‭, ‬and mezuzoth on their door-posts‭; ‬concerning these David said‭, ‬Seven times a day do I praise Thee‭, ‬because of Thy righteous ordinances.‭ ‬And as David entered the bath and saw himself standing naked‭, ‬he exclaimed‭, ‬‮‘‬Woe is me that I stand naked without any precepts about me‭!‬‮’‬‭ ‬But when he reminded himself of the circumcision in his flesh his mind was set at ease‭. ‬And when he came out he sang a hymn of praise concerning it‭, ‬as it is written‭, ‬For the Leader‭; [‬with stringmusic‭;] ‬on the Eighth‭. ‬A Psalm of David‭ ‬that is‭, ‬concerning circumcision which was given eighth.

‭ ‬ R‭. ‬Eliezer b‭. ‬Jacob said‭, ‬Whosoever has the tefillin on his head‭, ‬the tefillin on his arm‭, ‬the zizith on his garment‭, ‬and the mezuzah on his doorpost‭, ‬is in absolute security against sinning‭, ‬for it is written‭, ‬And a threefold cord is not quickly broken;‭ ‬and it is also written‭, ‬The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him‭, ‬and delivereth them.

‭ ‬ It was taught‭: ‬R‭. ‬Meir used to say‭, ‬Why is blue specified from all the other colours‭ [‬for this precept‭]? ‬Because blue resembles the colour of the sea‭, ‬and the sea resembles the colour of the sky‭, ‬and the sky resembles the colour of‭ [‬a sapphire‭, ‬and a sapphire resembles the colour of]‭ ‬the Throne of Glory‭, ‬as it is said‭, ‬And there was under his feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone,‭ ‬and it is also written‭, ‬The likeness of a throne as the appearance of a sapphire stone.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Korach Mutiny

I thank R. Maroof and more recently David Rinde for the inspiration to write on politics as election season nears.

For Americans, Korach's motive for mutiny against Moshe seems obvious. Every election season we witness the spectacle of seeing our leaders degenerate into bitter competition and mudslinging. Needless to say, the combatants will dress up their ambition in moral terms or “the issues”. They claim to diparage each other in the name of “principles”, “the little guy” or “the children”-not pure power interest. But at the end of the day, commentators and ordinary people alike are in consensus -men will do anything to attain power.

Given this reality, the ordinary people tend to look past the details of political accusations and counter accusations, to an underlying theme of “leadership ability”. There is a common sense approach taken to politics, one chooses a leader based upon a “gestalt intuition” of his vision to deliver material good- security, economic success etc rather than careful analysis of policy arguments. There is no need to examine the arguments of Korach to know what his mutiny was about- he was a leader competing for power.

In the Jewish system, the ordinary man is raised with a keen awareness of the danger of following intuitions about the visions of leaders. Every seder we reiterate that unexamined visions of Pharoahs are enslaving. It is beneath us as mature adults to guide our social action based upon feel good slogans and unexplained visions which have no basis in reality. Such immaturity can only lead to one result- policies that benefit the power fantasy of elites and enslave the populace. Chazal therefore view the formulation of “the issues” of Korach's mutiny as anything but window dressing. Far from being limited to ordinary citizens, the mutiny involved the most mature among the people as well- 250 leaders from the Sanhedrin according to Rashi.

א וַיִּקַּח קֹרַח בֶּן-יִצְהָר בֶּן-קְהָת בֶּן-לֵוִי וְדָתָן וַאֲבִירָם בְּנֵי אֱלִיאָב וְאוֹן בֶּן-פֶּלֶת בְּנֵי רְאוּבֵן. ב וַיָּקֻמוּ לִפְנֵי מֹשֶׁה וַאֲנָשִׁים מִבְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתָיִם נְשִׂיאֵי עֵדָה קְרִאֵי מוֹעֵד אַנְשֵׁי-שֵׁם. ג וַיִּקָּהֲלוּ עַל-מֹשֶׁה וְעַל-אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם רַב-לָכֶם כִּי כָל-הָעֵדָה כֻּלָּם קְדֹשִׁים וּבְתוֹכָם יְהוָה וּמַדּוּעַ תִּתְנַשְּׂאוּ עַל-קְהַל יְהוָה. ד וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּפֹּל עַל-פָּנָיו.

עמד וכנס מאתים חמישים ראשי סנהדראות, רובן משבט ראובן שכיניו, והם אליצור בן שדיאור וחביריו וכיוצא בו, שנאמר נשיאי עדה קריאי מועד, ולהלן הוא אומר (במדבר א, טז) אלה קרואי העדה, והלבישן טליתות שכולן תכלת.באו ועמדו לפני משה, אמרו לו
?טלית שכולה של תכלת חייבת בציצית או פטור
.אמר להם: חייבת
התחילו לשחק עליו, אפשר טלית של מין אחר חוט אחד של תכלת פוטרה, זו שכולה תכלת לא תפטור את עצמה

How could Korach have hoodwinked a populace raised on skepticism to political visions? What was so appealing in his argument?