You’ve got to love Star Wars.
It’s got all the classic elements of a wonderful saga – love, ambition, rivalry, justice etc. Perhaps that’s why, over the years, it’s become so popular – because it strikes a chord with us. One fundamental characteristic of Star Wars is the fight for justice. The evil and repressive Empire has plans to dominate the universe and only a small number of separatist rebels can stop them. Maybe we can identify with these rebels because we too have a deep yearning for justice to prevail and for there to be universal peace.
But throughout history, there have been rebellions against good regimes that have resulted in dictatorships.
The rebellion in the Star Wars saga is justified. But throughout history, there have been rebellions against good regimes that have resulted in dictatorships. How should we view those?
We read about one such rebellion in this week’s parasha, named after its chief protagonist Korach. Korah (in English) has a privileged position – he’s a Levite, which meant that he has access to the Mishkan and helps to transport the holy articles. However, this privileged position isn’t enough for him – he wants more. He wants to become the leader of the nation – he wants the priesthood.
So Korah and his followers lead a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. Fire consumes some of them, the ground opens up and swallows the rest. You’d think that this would be clear enough concerning who God wanted leading His people. But the next day, the congregation continues to grumble and God has to put an end to their grumbling by miraculously causing Aaron’s staff to produces almond blossoms and almonds overnight!
Korah and his rebellion ultimately perished. He wasn’t motivated by a sense of injustice or by fighting a repressive dictatorship – he simply wanted ultimate power. And yet despite his death, Korah’s rebellion still lives on today. In fact, not only does it live on today, but it was motivated by a rebellion that took place a long time before his.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, are in a perfect garden, where everything is at peace, just as it should be.
The great rebellion happened in the garden. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, are in a perfect garden, where everything is at peace, just as it should be. And then, tragedy. Adam fails to do his part in defending both the garden and his wife and Eve believes the lie that she can be God. She eats the fruit causing her separation from the Source of Life and she and her husband are cast out into exile. Everything is broken, including us, their children. Why? Well, because we continue to believe the lie that we can be God. The same desires that motivated Eve and drove Korah can also be found deep in our heart, if we’re honest. We don’t want God to tell us what to do – we want to be God.
Korah’s story is fascinating not just because of his rebellion. His story is fascinating because of the reaction to his rebellion – by God and by Moses/Aaron. Twice (Bamidbar/Numbers 16:22 and 16:45), God wants to wipe out not only Korah and his followers, but the whole congregation because of their grumbling! But both times, Moses and Aaron plead with God not to do it. Both times, they ask God to spare these troublesome, rebellious, fickle people. Together with last week’s parasha, that makes three times. Not only is it incredible that they ask God to do this, but He actually does. He spares the congregation who supported the rebellion and just punishes the rebels.
And He does the same with us. God would be quite within His rights to destroy us for the treason that each one of us carries in our hearts – wanting to dethrone Him and rebel against Him. And yet He listens to the appeals of His Son, the Messiah, on our behalf and chooses to spare us, if we put our trust in Yeshua and ask him to forgive us for the rebellion. Just as Moses pleaded with God for the rebels back then, Yeshua pleads with God for us. More than that, Yeshua willingly gave up his life to pay for the rebellion that we had committed. And God listened to him.
Fictional movies, such as Star Wars often use themes that are close to our heart and close to reality, because they know that we can identify with them. The thing is, we’re not in a rebellion against an evil, repressive dictatorship like the Jedis were. We’re in a rebellion against a good, loving, benevolent Father God. And yet He offers us the chance to end this rebellion, be reconciled to Him and live a life filled with purpose, if we are willing to admit we’re wrong, come to Him and submit ourselves to His authority. Why? Because He is good and He wants what is best for us. May the Force be with you? No, may you be with the Force (God)!