By: Hillary Schulman
This week’s Parsha is Korach, which is a very interesting parsha for many reasons. Whenever I think of Korach, I think of my summer camp, where I learned many interesting perspectives on the parshot of the summer. Since I’m not there this summer, I feel it is only fitting to offer my personal take on this parsha.
In Korach, there are so many excerpts that I could parse and explore, but instead I am going to focus on one concept: deception. Here, we learn about the rivalry between Korach and Moses. Korach wants to be High Priest, and challenges Aaron’s and Moses’ authority. He says, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?” He believes that this will destroy Moses and Aaron, and he will have a better chance at attaining his ultimate goal – becoming High Priest. However, this does not sit well with G-d who becomes angry, and destroys much of the community – thus reinforcing Aaron’s and Moses’ leadership over the Jewish people. While reading some commentary on this parsha, I came across this as a theory of deception. I thought about how this could relate to our own lives today and what I realized was that deception is unfortunately all around us, both personally and professionally.
We are all perpetrators of deception, whether we mean to be or not. We have all said or done something with an ulterior motive. Most of us also have been victims of deception. Current events have demonstrated that deception is extremely prevalent. Twitter hashtag campaigns are a blatant example of this. Humanity experiences horrific events such as coming across once-trusted man with ulterior motives (deception on another level) and people who feel the need to shoot up elementary schools. Yet nothing seems to be done.
The use of social media is a deceptive tool itself. Yes, it raises awareness, but what does it actually do? These hashtag campaigns are a fad that just gives us something to do. It shows that we superficially care, but are we actually doing something about it? Social media awareness is not enough. If we care enough about an issue to post it on Twitter or Facebook, then let’s take the extra step and convert social media awareness into actionable awareness. We should be writing to our state’s representatives instead of posting a sad article about another school shooting with the caption, “This is horrible.” Once this is posted, we forget about it the next day because we’ve jumped on the bandwagon of the next hashtag campaign. If our representatives in Washington receive a million letters from a group of people in solidarity, it will raise awareness just like posting a photo with a hashtag campaign sign; although this time it’s targeting the people who can and will actually do something about it.
As much as I love social media (because I know it can do a lot of good), I think that we’re just deceiving ourselves. We are fooling ourselves if we think that social media awareness by itself can foster change. We are fooling ourselves into thinking that we actually care, instead of just trying to jump on the bandwagon. When Korach tried to deceive Moses, he was destroyed. I don’t think we’ll actually be destroyed, but if we can’t participate in this democracy as it was intended, then we might as well be.