By: Rav Gavriel Saraf
The Ari Z"L writes (in Sefer HaLikutim, ch. 92): (The name) Korach is comprised of the last letters of the words: tzaddik ka-tamar yifrach.
This can be explained in two ways:
1. According to the simple meaning. The Maggid from Dubno explains this by way of a parable: Once upon a time, a price paid a fortune for special oil which protects the body from arrows. Afterwards a long time passed and he didn't use it, and he began to regret that he invested in this expensive oil, which was sitting like an unturned stone. One day he went for a walk in the forest and lost his way. His misfortune got worse when a bandit attacked him and began shooting arrows at him. The prince immediately applied the oil to himself, and the oil indeed saved his life. A squad of the king's guards came and caught the attacker, and the prince gave him a bag of gold coins and thanked him, since now he was reassured that he made a good bargain when he purchased the oil.
Such was the situation regarding the dispute of Korach and his accomplices: Sooner or later, it was inevitable that someone would rebel against Moshe Rabbenu, and a special, unprecedented event was needed to prove the authenticity of Moshe and Aharon, so that all will know that G-d chose them. Therefore, even though Korach's intentions were bad, a good thing resulted from his misdeeds.
For this reason, the place of the verse "tzaddik ka-tamar yifrach" (the righteous one will blossom like a palm tree) is specifically in Psalm 92, which opens with the words: Mizmor shir le-yom haShabbat. This psalm alludes to "the day which is entirely Shabbat" – in the future, in the seventh millennium since the Creation – when we will be able to understand that even things which looked bad from a human viewpoint brought a good result in the end. "A boorish man will not know, and a fool will not understand this: when the wicked ones will flourish like grass and all the wrongdoers will sprout" but in the end of the process all will see that the purpose of the flourishing of the wicked is "to destroy them forever."
Therefore the issue of Korach is specifically alluded to by the last letters of "tzaddik ka-tamar yifrach," to teach us that only at the End of Days, after all is said and done, something good will emerge, as it is written (Judges 14:14) "out of the fierce will emerge the sweet." And this message is hinted at by the fruit of the tamar - the date - which is called "honey" in the Torah, and its essence is sweetness.
Additionally, the Psalm concludes with "To declare that G-d is righteous, my rock in Whom there is no injustice." And this is what we discovered about Korach and his group, that at the end they admitted their mistake (Babba Bathra 74a): "Moshe is true and his Torah is true."
2. A deeper explanation can be given, according to what is known from the Holy Books, that Shmuel the prophet was a gilgul of his great-great-grandfather Korach, and he came to remedy his sin. Similarly, Pinchas was a gilgul of Nadav and Avihu. And the nature of this tikkun (repair) by a gilgul is that a person remedies the sin of the neshama which came to him by performing the same action which was negative in the previous gilgul, and now this action itself becomes a positive action. Let us explain:
Pinchas repaired the sin of Nadav and Avihu in this way: Nadav and Avihu arose of their own accord to offer incense and fire which they were not commanded by G-d. Pinchas arose on his own to kill Zimri, and the law which Pinchas relied upon was "(it is) the Halacha, but one is not instructed to do it." Meaning, one can carry out an act of zealousness only if he does this of his own incentive. Therefore, Pinchas too acted in a way "which (G-d) did not command" but he (as opposed to Nadav and Avihu) acted properly and according to G-d's will.
Regarding Shmuel HaNavi, the Talmud (Berachot 31b) tells us the dialogue between Eli and Chana when she brought Shmuel before Eli:
Rabbi Elazar said: Shmuel taught halacha before his Rav, as it is written: "And they slaughtered the bull and they brought the boy to Eli." (The Talmud asks): Because they slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli? However (the reason is) Eli said to them: call for a Cohen, who will come and slaughter. Shmuel saw that they were looking for a Cohen to slaughter (the bull), and said to them: why are you looking for a Cohen to slaughter? The slaughtering by a "zar" (non-Cohen) is Kosher! They brought him before Eli, who said: where do you know this from? (Shmuel) said to him: is it written "and the Cohen shall slaughter?" What is written is "and the Cohanim shall offer!" From (the stage of) the receiving (of the blood) and onwards is the mitzvah of the Cohanim, but prior to this the slaughtering is Kosher by a "zar." (Eli) said to him: what you said is correct, however, you are teaching halacha before your Rav, and anyone who teaches halacha before his Rav deserves death. Chana came and cried before him: "I am the woman who stood with you here!" (Eli) said to her: let me punish him, and I will pray for mercy and (G-d) will give you (a son) greater than him. She said to him: "For this child I prayed!"
We can explain Chana's words as supporting Shmuel. He indeed taught halacha before his Rav, but he acted properly, since from then onward he had to take on the leadership of Am Israel (as was revealed to him by prophecy).
From this we can say that Shmuel repaired the sin of Korach: Korach brazenly opposed the leadership of Moshe and Aharon. This was an extremely negative act, since this was still at the time of their leadership and thus he acted against the will of G-d and His chosen (leaders). But regarding Shmuel: even though he taught halacha before Eli (and by doing this his actions resembled those of Korach), he behaved properly and his deed was positive and in this way he repaired the sin of his grandfather.
The Midrash Rabbah says of Korach: "His eye (vision) misled him. He saw great lineage emerging from him (including) Shmuel, who is equated to Moshe and Aharon. According what we mentioned above, it can be said that Korach thought that just as in the future Shmuel will teach halacha before his Rav, and this will be proper, so Korach can rebel against the leadership of the great men of his generation. But his mistake was that the leadership was still entrusted to Moshe and Aharon.
This too explains why Korach is hinted at by the final letters of the words "tzaddik ka-tamar yifrach". His tikkun (remedy) will eventually come through an act of azzut d'kedushah (boldness for holiness) of Shmuel who is his descendent, who will act like Tamar did with Yehudah, in "a sin (but) for the sake of heaven" with azzut d'kedushah in order that they would bring forth kings and Moshiach ben David.
Furthermore, the Sages say (Sanhedrin 110a): The Beraitha says: "Korach was one of the burnt, as well as one of the swallowed up (by the earth)" meaning that he received a double punishment. "one of the burnt" because he rebelled against Aharon together with the two hundred and fifty incense – burners who opposed the priesthood of Aharon, and "one of the swallowed up" because he rebelled against Moshe and contradicted his prophecy. Korach was guilty of both of these sins, and therefore he received both punishments.
And it is known that Aharon's "trademark" was the characteristic of chesed and Shalom, and that of Moshe was the characteristic of din (judgment). "Moshe would say 'let the judgment bore a hole through the mountain' but Aharon loved peace and pursued peace. (Sanhedrin 6b)" And indeed, in this way as well, Shmuel repaired the sin of Korach, as Shmuel is equated to Moshe and Aharon, and therefore he combines their attributes, that of judgment and that of peace: he judged Israel and also spared no effort to be present for the nation, walking from city to city in Israel. "And the young man Shmuel grew up, and was good with G-d and also with men. (1 Shmuel, 2:26)"
We can see the strength of Shmuel with regards to this shleimut (comprehensiveness) from the words of Chazal in Masechet Zevachim (54a) on the passuk "(and David came to Shmuel to Ramah…) and he went with Shmuel and they sat in Nayot (1 Shmuel 19:18)." Rava asked: What is the connection between Nayot and Ramah? The answer is that they sat in Ramah and were engaged with "noyah shel olam" (the beauty of the world - Beit HaMikdash). Shmuel was occupied with searching for the place to build the Mikdash, and indeed the completed city of Jerusalem combines both of these qualities – it is named Yerushalayim, which combines Yireh – Shalem, (Bereshis Rabbah) that is, judgment and Shalom.
Shiur ID: 9162