“Your argument is not against us,” Moshe reminded Korach, “but against G-d who commanded me to appoint Aaron.”

Moshe couldn’t persuade Korach to change his mind. Moshe then told the people to move away from Korach. Then, “the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up together with their households and all their goods.”

To put an end to their complaints, G-d told Moshe to take a staff from each prince of the 12 tribes, plus one from Aaron, and place them before G-d. The next day, Aaron’s staff miraculously “put forth buds and blossomed and bore ripe almonds.” Moshe presented the rods to the people so they could see that G-d had indeed chosen Aaron.

In the reading, the Torah tells us that the Kohen and Levi will not share in the land of Israel. Instead, they must be totally devoted to the service of G-d. Instead of a share in the land, gifts were to be given to them; “All the best of the oil, wine and grain” are to be given to the Kohen. This teaches us that when it comes to charity, we have to give the best.

Maimonides writes, “When a person gives something for G-d’s sake, he should donate from the best; when building a house of worship, it should be nicer than his own house; when giving food to the poor, one should give from the best of one’s table; when clothing the poor, one should give them from the nicest of one’s clothing.”

The Talmud tells: A poor man (who was once wealthy), approached the sage Rava and begged for food. “What are you used to eating?” Rava asked. “I’m used to eating a plump chicken with aged wine,” the man replied.

Rava was upset. “How can you request such food?” he wanted to know.

“Am I asking people to give me what belongs to them? My food comes from G-d and He gives everyone according to their needs. If G-d wants, He will find a way to provide it!”

Rava had a sister whom he didn’t see for thirteen years. As Rava and the poor man were talking, Rava’s sister arrived to visit her brother. She brought him a gift: a plump chicken and vintage wine!

When Rava saw this, he turned to the poor man and exclaimed; “Now I see that you are right. G-d does provide each person according to his or her needs. G-d intended it for you!”