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Daily Aliya for Korach, Shishi (6th Aliya)

From G‑d commands Moses to return “Aaron’s staff” to the Holy of Holies, where it is to remain for perpetuity. The Jews express to Moses their fear of mistakenly entering a restricted area of the Tabernacle, and dying as a result. In response, G‑d commands the priests and the Levites to carefully guard the Tabernacle, to prevent unauthorized entry by non-priests. The Torah then lists the various gifts to which the priests were entitled. These include the privilege of eating certain sacrifices, as well as select portions of other sacrifices; receiving the five shekels for the redemption of Israelite firstborn sons; a portion of all grain, oil, and wine crops; the “first fruit”; and more. Aaron is informed that his descendents will not receive a portion in the land of Israel–instead, G‑d is their inheritance and portion.

The staff is meant to dissuade those rebellious ones from complaining, but the Passuk says that “their complaints will stop” (utechal telunotam), “complaints” being plural, but “stop” being singular. Why the discrepancy? Is it one complaint that this staff will deter, or many? Rashi analyzes the grammar and determines that the word used to mean “complaints” is actually a collective singular noun, so it makes sense that “stop” is singular. Nonetheless, logic would dictate that this staff should deter more than just one complaint. It could be, however, that complaints all come from the same lack of faith, and rather than focusing on the symptoms, the Torah focuses on the disease. How a staff can help deter someone from complaining is a discussion for another time (maybe next year’s Aliya?).