I have written in the past about the recurring theme mentioned in this week’s parasha of אסיפה, in-gathering. It is noteworthy that the word אסף in א”ת ב”ש is תחו, who was the ancestor of אלקנה, the father of Shmuel. The Yalkut Shimoni (Shmuel I) also references this א”ת ב”ש, so it would seem that there is a connection with the word אסף and with Shmuel. We know that Korach foresaw that Shmuel would be his descendant and for this reason he quarreled with Moshe. Shmuel referred to himself as the רואה, the one who sees. It follows, then, that Shmuel’s ancestors were all prophets or people with visions. How does this relate to the word אסף mentioned in our parasha?
The Sfas Emes writes that the Jews desired a desire, i.e. they recognized their lofty spiritual level and they desired physicality so that they could earn reward for their deeds. It is noteworthy that they are referred to as the אסַפְסֻף, as they had a double desire, reflecting their double vision. Further on we find that Moshe chose elders and he “gathered” seventy elders, clearly people with vision. Lastly, Miriam was punished for slandering Moshe regarding Moshe’s level of prophecy, and upon her completion of quarantine, she was “gathered in.” Here too we see that someone being reinstated to a level of prophecy and awareness is referred to someone who is gathered in. Korach “gathered” the people together to quarrel with Moshe on account of his vision, but he was mistaken as it was Shmuel, his descendant, who would be the man with the vision.
The lesson from all this is that if we wish to attain elevated levels of spirituality, we must connect with other Jews for the right reasons, which are for Torah study, mitzvah observance, and for the purpose of unity. Self-indulgence and delusional pursuits of grandeur will not only obscure one’s vision, but will cause one to be disconnected from the Jewish People, similar what happened to Korach and his entourage.
HaShem should bless us with the Unity of Shabbos and the Ultimate in-gathering of the exiles, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have a Unified and Spiritually Elevating Shabbos!