WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Korach 5779

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

With the Torah Reading of Parashat Korach, WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah, is going PC – not the PC you might be thinking of, but rather, Parashah Chesed. The 5780 Torah Fund pin is the word, Chesed, which means kindness, done without thought of reward. On July 1, 2019, with the start of the new Torah Fund campaign, WWOT will consistent of PC: P Parashah – a brief summary of part of the weekly parashah or Torah Reading, and C – an idea of some sort of concept of Chesed related to the Torah Portion.

P Parashat Korach – Korach is jealous, a Levite of Moses’s own tribe, Moses and Aaron’s first cousin, and riles up the people to question why Moses and Aaron have all this authority; why are they the leaders? Datan and Aviram, descendants from the tribe of Jacob’s first born son, Reuven, also begin to question why Moses is the chosen leader, and they too rebel. God threatens to destroy the entire community because of this rebelliousness. Moses and Aaron plead to God not to destroy the entire community. Instead of the entire community being destroyed, just Korach and his followers are destroyed, when the earth swallows them up. “The earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them…and all their wealth…” (Numbers 16:31-33).

C –  This week, in relationship to some Chesed ideas connected to our weekly Torah reading, Parashat Korach, let us think about what acts of loving-kindness we can do for the earth. For example, composting food waste. Composting, the process of aerobically breaking down biodegradable, organic matter, reclaims food waste as a resource, producing usable, nutrient-rich soil, that can be used for landscaping in house plants, or coming full circle, to grow more food. There are different ways of composting, such as in composting bins, which can be homemade or store-bought. Food and yard waste are disposed in compost bins, and then turned or rotated with a shovel to aerate the pile; or vermicomposting, which utilizes worms, and eliminates the need for turning food scraps. A successful compost bin requires both wet matter like fruit and vegetables, as well as dry matter like news clippings and leaves. Composting is a great way to remind us about the power of the earth, as was witnessed in the story of Korach and his followers being swallowed up by the earth. Furthermore, what a great act of Chesed, to use items that would ordinarily be thrown out, like banana peels and apple cores, and reuse them, and make them into something new. These forgotten, disposed-of items, could have a new life. So, why not start a compost bin in your Sisterhood community? Stay tuned for other Chesed ideas related to Parashat haShavuah, the next weekly Torah portion.

Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here, and stay up-to-date with the latest WWOT theme, Chesed, here.