Sedra Korach, 120 Words. Enduring Arguments
The Mishnah [Avos 5:20] contrasts the disputes between Hilel and Shamai to the dispute between Korach and Moshe Rabbenu [to those who are readying themselves to protest – I am aware of the actual wording of the Mishnah]
The Sages of the Mishnah intone, one Machlokes will endure [SoFa LeHisKayem] the other will not.
The Machlokes of Hillel and Shamai, one would think, will not endure forever. After all they not only share the same ambition, but Gd is assisting them in their pursuit, Gd will ensure peace and harmony will prevail, so they will eventually resolve and agree.
Whereas the Machlokes of Korach, which is self serving, grasping, motivated by envy and attacks those who meekly dedicate themselves to Gd and good; will always be present as a weakness in the human condition.
The Mishnah however, has it the other way around.
The Talmud’s arguments, the disagreements about how to understand and interpret Halacha – will go on forever. How can this be? we ask.
The only and the obvious answer is, these arguments are the substance of the relationship that we have with Gd.
There is no greater error than that made by those who assert, be it in words or lifestyle, that Gd only seeks and demands obedience. In that case Gd would have presented Moshe Rabbenu on Har Sinai, with the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, The Concise Code of Jewish Law. [which would have taken a lot less that 40 days and nights]
But Gd’s gift requires our input, without which, Gd’s gift is incomplete. The written Law is incomplete without the Oral Torah.
The Covenant of Love between The Infinite and the finite is not the imbalanced, tail wagging, puppy love, where owners lower themselves to enjoy the obedience and bask in the love of their pet. Not at all.
It is The Infinite reaching out to the infinite mind-soul, which is temporarily travelling in the finite body, inviting it to reach up to The Infinite and engage in and develop The Inifinte’s wisdom.
On the other hand, Korach and his mates, will eventually look back, be it in 5 minutes, 5 days, weeks, months, years or decades, and realize that the argument was based on nothing more than a stupid, meaningless, frivolous and hollow self-serving evaluation. The sort of considerations that we are ashamed of and which we wish will not endure nor be remembered.