1)

What did the Torah mean when it wrote "Vatiftach ha'Aretz es Pihah"?

1.

Seforno: It meant that the opening stretched up to their houses, which promptly fell into it.

2)

Why does the Torah write "es Pihah' - its mouth?

1.

Oznayim la'Torah: It is referring to the mouth of the earth that Hashem created on Erev Shabbos Bein ha'Shemashos of the creation. 1


1

Avos, 5:6.

3)

What exactly does the Pasuk mean when it writes that "the earth swallowed them up"?

1.

Rashi #1 (in Devarim 11:6, citing R. Yehudah): Whenever one of them attempted to run away, the earth opened up and swallowed him, wherever he was. 1

2.

Rashi #2 (in Devarim 11:6, citing R. Nechemyah): The earth became a slope like a funnel, and wherever they were, they rolled into the abyss.


1

Rashi: R. Nechemyah objects to this explanation, seeing as the Torah writes "Pihah" (in the singular), implying that there was only one mouth, and not many mouths.

4)

Whom does "ve'es Kol ha'Adam asher le'Korach" incorporate?

1.

Ramban: It incorporates his Avadim and Shefachos - Egyptian, Kushim and Cana'anim - that he acquired, as well as other members of his household - Geirim and Toshavim - who joined his rebellion, but not his three grown-up sons, 1 who were Tzadikim (and who retracted at the last moment). 2

2.

Seforno: It incorporates all of Korach's men who followed 3 him in his Machlokes - excluding his sons 4 who were Tzadikim and who did not follow him in this matter.


1

Ramban: He did not have small children, since the Torah does not mention 'Taf' as it does by Dasan and Aviram.

2

See Pinchas Bamidbar, 26:11.

3

Not the two hundred and fifty men, who were burned.

4

See Pinchs Bamidbar, 26:11.

5)

Why did also all their property fall into the hole?

1.

Ramban: Because it was Asur be'Hana'ah. 1

2.

Seforno: To deprive them of the merit that Tzadikim should benefit from their work. 2


1

Refer to 16:26:2:1.

2

Seforno: Like where a wealthy man loses a Sela and a poor man finds it (See Rashi, Ki Seitzei Devarim, 24:19).

6)

How will we reconcile the current Pasuk, which implies that Korach was swallowed [alive] with the Pasuk in Pinchas, 26:10, which implies that he was burned?

1.

Riva (citing R"M of Kutzi): He was burned and swallowed, as the Gemara explains in Sanhedrin 110a. 1

2.

Sanhedrin, 110a (citing R. Yochanan) 2 : In fact, the Torah does not mention Korach in either case, and indeed, he survived both deaths. 3


1

Riva (Ibid.): Had he not been burned, the two hundred and fifty would have complained that he brought this punishment upon them, and he was spared, and had he not been swallowed, those Dasan and Aviram would have complained in similar fashion. Therefore he was burned and swallowed.

2

The previous opinion is that of the Beraisa cited in the same Gemara.

3

Only to die later in the plague that followed - in 17:11 & 12. See Torah Temimah, note 24.

7)

Why were they swallowed, and not burned, like the two hundred and fifty men?

1.

Moshav Zekenim (citing R. Shmuel): They wanted to be above all, therefore they were lowered. 1

2.

Riva (on Pasuk 35): This can be compared to two men. One of whom said, 'I will do whatever the judge decrees on me', the other, 'I will not listento him'. The latter will receive a more severe punishment. Similarly, the two hundred and fifty men obeyed Moshe's instructions, and took the pans of incense, whereas Dasan and Aviram refused


1

Moshav Zekenim (Ibid.): Similarly, Uziyah ha'Melech wanted to enter the Heichal to bring Ketores, therefore he was [stricken with Tzara'as and] sent outside the town.

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