1. "Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi took..." (Bemidbar 16:1). Rabbi Aba opened the discussion with the verse: "more to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" (Tehilim 19:11). How supreme are matters of Torah, and how precious they are. They are desired above and they are desired by all, because they constitute the Holy Name. Whoever toils in the Torah strives for the Holy Name and is saved from all EVIL; he is saved in this world and rescued in the World to Come. Come and behold: whoever deals in the Torah is attached to the Tree of Life and, since he is attached to the Tree of Life, he is part of everything, as it is written: "she is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her..." (Mishlei 3:18).
2. Rabbi Yitzchak said: Whoever deals in the Torah is free from everything, even free from death, as mentioned, since liberty, WHICH IS BINAH, dwells upon him and is attached to him. If Yisrael had adorned themselves with Torah, they would have been saved from everything and would not have found themselves in exile. This is what is written: "engraved (Heb. charut) upon the tablets" (Shemot 32:16). Do not read it WITH AN 'A,' but rather WITH AN 'E,' as "Cherut," since this freedom (Heb. cherut) is available in the Torah. The Torah is the power of the right, as it is written: "from His right hand went a fiery law for them" (Devarim 33:2), and the left is included in the right. Whoever makes the right left and the left right is as if he destroys the world.
3. Come and behold: Aaron is right, WHICH IS CHESED, and the Levites are left, WHICH IS GVURAH. Korah wanted to exchange the right for left; HE DESIRED THE PRIESTHOOD, WHICH IS RIGHT, FOR THE LEVITES, WHO ARE LEFT; therefore, he was punished. Furthermore, he had the evil tongue, BY SPEAKING OUT AGAINST MOSES, and was punished for everything. Rabbi Yehuda said: The left is always contained in the right, BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THE LEFT IS CORRECTED. Korah wished to substitute the correction of above and below, SINCE HE ASPIRED TO THE DOMINATION OF THE LEVITES, WHICH ARE LEFT, SO THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE PRIESTS, WHICH ARE RIGHT. Therefore, he was annihilated from above and below.
4. "Now Korah...took" (Bemidbar 16:1). HE ASKS: What is the meaning of "took?'' HE RESPONDS: He took faulty counsel for himself. If one chases after something that does not belong to him, it escapes from him and he even loses what he has. Korah chased after something that was not his. Therefore, he lost his own and no one else gained.
5. Korah turned to disagreement. What is the meaning of disagreement? Distancing and repulsion; the distancing and repulsion of what is above and below, and whoever wishes to postpone the restoration of the universe will become lost from all the worlds. Conflict is a distancing of peace, and whoever is in conflict about peace is in disagreement with His Holy Name, because His Holy Name is called 'Peace.'
6. Come and behold: the world does not exist except through peace. When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world, it could not endure until He came and made peace dwell upon them. What is it? It is the Shabbat, which is the peace of the upper and the lower grades. And then the world endured. THEREFORE, whoever creates dissension about this PEACE will be lost from the world.
7. Zelophehad was in dissension with the Shabbat because he was gathering wood (or: 'trees'). What were these trees? These were the other trees OF THE SEVENTY CHIEFTAINS, as we mentioned. These were secular matters and secular concerns do not prevail in sanctity. HENCE, he was in conflict with the world peace, WHICH IS SHABBAT, BECAUSE HE BLENDED THE SECULAR WITH THE SHABBAT.
8. Rabbi Yosi says that it is written: "great peace have they who love Your Torah" (Tehilim 119:165). The Torah is peace, as it is written: "and all her paths are peace" (Mishlei 3:17). And Korah came to blemish that peace of above - WHICH IS THE TORAH, MEANING THE CENTRAL COLUMN THAT IS CALLED 'TORAH' THAT PRODUCES PEACE BETWEEN THE RIGHT AND LEFT, and of below, OF MOSES. Therefore, he was punished from the higher and the lower aspects BY FIRE AND BY THE OPENING OF THE EARTHLY CHASM.
9. "And they rose up before Moses..." (Bemidbar 16:2). This verse has been explained by the friends. Rabbi Shimon says: "Regularly summoned (Heb. kri'ei) to the congregation (Heb. mo'ed)" (Ibid.), is missing a Yud. Why is it written "Kriei?'' HE RESPONDS: It is only that the earthly kingdom is like heavenly kingdom, MEANING THAT MALCHUT BELOW IS LIKE MALCHUT ABOVE. That is the secret meaning of all these higher Sfirot onto which the Holy Name holds. All are summoned from the place that is called 'Holiness,' THAT IS THE SECRET OF SUPERNAL ABA AND IMA, as it is written: "which you shall proclaim to be (also: 'summoned from') holy gatherings" (Vayikra 23:37). When is this? When mo'ed prevails in the world, THAT IS, DURING FESTIVALS AND APPOINTED TIMES (HEB. MO'ED). Just as these higher Sfirot are summoned by the Upper Temple, SO AS TO SANCTIFY THEM, similarly the Lower Sanctity summons its legions to adorn and uplift them. THESE ARE THREE WORLDS BRIYAH, YETZIRAH AND ASIYAH, WHICH ARE THE LEGIONS OF MALCHUT THAT ADORNS THEM AND UPLIFTS THEM TO ATZILUT.
10. The higher Holiness is known AS ABA AND IMA ABOVE, and the lower Holiness is the wisdom of Solomon, MEANING MALCHUT, which also summons all her legions TO SANCTIFY THEM WITH HER HOLINESS. These legions are all invited to be adorned in this lower Holiness at a time when a festival prevails in the world. As her legions are standing above IN ATZILUT SUMMONED BY MALCHUT, so are the appointed of the nation, MEANING THE CHIEFTAINS OF YISRAEL, according to her example below, IN THIS WORLD. Therefore, it is written as: "summoned to the congregation (Heb. mo'ed)," and of those below it is written, "summoned (Heb. kri'ei) to the congregation;'' "Kriei" is missing a Yud. However, they are then in increased wholeness.