Why does the Torah juxtapose the Parshah of Korach next to that of Tzitzis?
Ba'al ha'Turim: Because Korach and his men mocked the Mitzvah of Techeiles that Moshe had taught. Refer to 16:2:1:1 & 2.
What did Korach take?
Rashi #2: He drew the heads of the Sanhedrin with words. 3
Ramban (citing Midrash Tanchuma): He took self-advice 4 to do what the Pasuk goes on to relate.
Da'as Zekenim (citing Sanhedrin 109b): He made a bad Mekach (purchase, to make an argument with Moshe).
Ramban #1and Hadar Zekenim: And Korach took 250 men from Yisrael.
Ramban #2 and Seforno: Korach, Dasan and Aviram (and On ben Peles - Seforno) took 250 men and stood them before Moshe.
Rashbam: Korach, Dasan and Aviram gathered many men, until they numbered 250.
Why does the Torah stop at Levi? Why does it not go back to Ya'akov?
How did Dasan and Aviram become associated with Korach?
Rashi: The tribe of Reuven, to which they belonged, encamped in the south, next to K'has, to which Korach belonged. 1
Ramban (citing the Ibn Ezra): They accused Moshe of taking away the Bechorah from Reuven and handing it to Yosef. 2
Ramban: It is as they specifically stated (verse 13); they accused Moshe of taking them into the desert in order to kill them.
To whom does "B'nei Reuven" refer?
Rashi: "B'nei Reuven" pertains to Dasan, Aviram and On ben Peles. 1
Riva: One might have thought that it applies only to On, mentioned right before. We find that B'nei can apply to an individual
Why is On ben Peles not mentioned again after this Pasuk?
Hadar Zekenim: Based on Peshat, he was among the 250 men. However, Chachamim expounded that his wife saved him (refer to 16:1:6:1*).
Da'as Zekeinim (citing Sanhedrin, 109b): She convinced him that it is no better to be a Talmid of Korach than a Talmid of Moshe. She gave him strong wine and put him to sleep, and sat outside his tent and exposed her hair. When Korach's men came to fetch him, they fled. A Midrash attributes Korach's rebellion to his wicked wife, who urged him to challenge Moshe, for publicly embarrassing him together with all the Leviyim, when he ordered them to be completely shaven and waved like a Lulav, by Aharon (See Bamidbar 8:7, 11). Mishlei (14:1) refers to these two women. "Chochmas Nashim Bansah Beisah" (the wife of On), "v'Aveles b'Yadehah Teharsenah" (the wife of Korach).
Ramban: Which explains why he was neither swallowed up with Dasan and Aviram, nor burned with the 250 men.
What sparked off Korach's rebellion?
Rashi (citing Midrash Tanchuma) and Ramban: His jealousy of his cousin, Elitzafan, 1 who had been appointed the Nasi of K'has, in spite of the fact that Elitzafan's father Uziel was the younger brother of Korach's father Yitz'har 2 (because he was jealous of Aharon's appointment to the Kehunah Gedolah - Ramban). 3
Ramban (citing the Ibn Ezra): Because he accused Moshe of giving the Leviyim over to the Kohanim - to play a secondary role and because he had taken away the Avodah from the Bechoros and handed it to the Kohanim, and he (Korach) was a Bechor. The people accused him of choosing his brother as Kohen Gadol, the Bnei Kehas, his relatives, for the choicest Avodah, and the Leviyim - his tribe, to serve in the Mishkan.
Da'as Zekeinim (citing a Midrash): Korach's wife incited her husband to challenge Moshe. Refer to 16:1:6:1*.
Riva citing Yelamdenu: Bnei Merari received four wagons [to carry the beams and sockets], and Bnei Kehas did not receive any; they needed to carry on the shoulder.
Rashi (on Pasuk 3): Although his jealousy of Elitzafan sparked off the rebellion, he attacked Moshe for his appointment of Aharon as Kohen Gadol, which he also coveted.
See Sh'mos 6:18. Rashi: If the sons of K'has' oldest son Amram, took the kingship and the Kehunah Gedolah, then it is he, the son of his second son, Yitzhar, who ought to have taken the next important position, and Moshe had no right to appoint the son of K'has' youngest son.
Ramban: As Moshe specifically stated in Pasuk 10.
When did the episode of Korach take place?
Rashi (on Pasuk 4) and Ramban: It was after the episode of the spies (in Kadeish Barne'a in Midbar Paran when the atmosphere in the camp was conducive to rebellion
Ramban: Based on the principle 'Ein Mukdam u'Me'uchar ba'Torah'. The Ramban objects to this explanation however, because the Torah always follows the chronological order, unless there is good reason not to.
Ramban #1 (citing Ibn Ezra): And the people thought that Moshe distributed the important positions to his tribe and to his relatives.
Ramban: Since it took place immediately after the multiple punishments (Tav'eirah, Kivros ha'Ta'avah and the Meraglim), and the people were dejected. Moreover, in Midbar Sinai, Moshe was still extremely popular, since, in spite of their sins, he had, via his Tefilos, succeeded in staving off the punishments, as opposed to here, where it was decreed that they would die in the desert. See Ramban, end of the Pasuk.
Rashi (21:4): After Aharon died, Bnei Yisrael went backwards seven Masa'os (refer to 21:4:1:1)., but Parshas Mas'ei lists each place only once. Perhaps also after the Meraglim, they backtracked to Chatzeros (Hashem told them to go in the Midbar "Derech Yam Suf" - 14:25), and there Korach rebelled! (PF)
Why did the B'nei Levi and Dasan and Aviram join the rebellion?
Ramban #2 (citing the Ibn Ezra): The B'nei Levi, 4 because they accused Moshe of appointing them to secondary positions to serve the Kohanim, 5 and Dasan and Aviram, of taking away the Bechorah from their father Re'uven and handing it to Yosef. 6
Ramban #3: Dasan and Aviram turned on Moshe because, as they specifically stated, they accused Moshe of taking them into desert in order to kill them. 7
Ramban: Although in fact, it was Ya'akov who made the switch.
See Pasuk 7 & 8.
Ramban (citing the Ibn Ezra): Whereas the people accused him of choosing his brother as Kohen Gadol, the B'nei K'has, his relatives, for the choicest Avodah, and the Levi - his tribe, to serve in the Mishkan.
See Pasuk 13 & 24.
What is the significance of Korach's name?
Da'as Zekenim #1: He made a Karachah in Yisrael (a bald patch, i.e. he caused many to die).
Da'as Zekenim #2: Its Gematriya is 308, like Shadad (plundered); he did not guard Hashem's Mitzvos. Ben Yitzhar
Da'as Zekenim: Dasan
Here, Korach's father's name is Yitzhar. In Divrei ha'Yamim (1:6:7), it is Aminadav!
Moshav Zekenim citing R. Yehudah ha'Chasid: Korach resented that Nachshon was the head of the Nesi'im. He said, I come from Levi, who was older than Yehudah! I should be like a son of Aminadav, and be a Nasi like you!
Why didn't Dasan and Aviram die with the other Resha'im during the plague of darkness? They were Resha'im, for every "Nitzim" and "Netzavim" refers to them!
Moshav Zekenim: They were Metzora'im who are considered dead. 1
Moshav Zekenim citing Ri: The only ones who died during Choshech were those who did not believe in Hashem and did not want to leave, amidst fear 'how will we eat in an unseeded land?' Those who believed in Hashem, even if they were Resha'im, did not die.
Moshav Zekenim: This cannot be, for they were in the Machaneh. Do not say that they were healed at Matan Torah ("u'Mum Ein Bach"