What was the reason for Korah’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron?

Our weekly Torah portion begins with the following verses:

“Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:1-4)

What did Korah and the others mean by saying: “You have gone too far?” In order to better understand the reason for the outbreak of Korah’s rebellion against Moses and Aaron, one should know the genealogy and the history of the Levite tribe or more accurately the one of Levi’s son – Kohath.

Kohath, who was Levi’s second son, had four sons: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Amram, who was the oldest, is Moses’ and Aaron’s father and that is why the leadership of Moses and Aaron’s priesthood were accepted without question among the Kohath’s family.

The ‘problem’ started when Moses appointed Uzziel’s son – Elizaphan – to be the chief of the Kohathites:

“The clans of the sons of Kohath were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle, with Elizaphan the son of Uzziel as chief of the fathers’ house of the clans of the Kohathites.” (Numbers 3:29-30)

As you probably noticed, Korah was the oldest son of Izhar – who was the second son of Kohath – whereas Elizaphan was the son of Uzziel – who was Kohath’s youngest son.

In other words, Korah ‘sat quietly’ and said nothing about the leadership and priesthood positions of Moses and Aaron because according to the Kohath’ family tree Moses and Aaron would have priority over him.

However, by the same family tree, he (Korah) was supposed to be the chief of the Kohathites and not Elizaphan the son of Uzziel!

In order to gain more support for his (Korah’s) demand for a leadership position, Korah approached the ‘best natural candidates’ he could have – people from the tribe of Reuben, who was Jacob’s oldest son (who has also ‘overthrown’ by his younger brothers Judah and Ephraim) and therefore reinforced the accusations against Moses and Aaron.

This accusations put Moses in an ‘uncomfortable’ situation, because allegedly, it seemed like Korah and his people raised a good point. But what exactly were their demands and how does the story continue?

The answer is found in the article on ‘What were the demands of Korah and his company?’