From Projection to Rebellion
This week’s parsha exposes a very negative condition many people suffer from. If one spends even a short time reviewing or reading today’s news concerning current events we can plainly see this negative aspect of the human personality rearing its ugly head.
It happened against Moshe and continues to this day. That character flaw is called “Projection” — the transferring of one’s own hidden thoughts, attitudes, actions and agenda onto another, especially if that other is the one in charge.
In parshat Korach certain prominent men of the Tribe of Levi and among the men of the Assembly of Israel, two-hundred-fifty in all, lead by four men in particular — Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On.
These four began stirring up other leaders of the tribes giving a false report to them about Moshe and Aharon. Once they felt they had a significant enough following among the “men of renown” among Israel they approached Moshe and Aharon and charged them with exalting themselves above all of them — these great leaders and renowned men of the Assembly. They also accused Moshe and Aharon of lording it over the people — when it reality it was these false accusers who were just projecting their own feelings of lack of self-esteem and their desire to lead and lord it over the people.
Upon hearing from these arrogant men, Moshe, being the humblest man to have ever lived [SEE: Numbers 12:3], immediately fell on his face and silently prayed for these rebellious men. This was the exact opposite response Korah and the others were hoping for. Since they were projecting themselves on Moshe they thought he would react as they would have in the same situation — lash out at them — so proving their accusations against Moshe of being a despot as true. However, that did not occur because Moshe is a true and humble leader and man of HaShem.
Moshe then sits up and informs them that HaShem will make known who He has chosen to lead the people through the rest of their sojourn in the Wilderness.
Needless to say HaShem made His choice very clear for all of Israel to witness. [SEE: Numbers 16:28-32]
This one flaw of projection — the displacing of one’s own feelings, thoughts and plans onto a different person or object is one of the greatest deterrences to peace and security. If left unchecked it will ultimately lead to rebellion against that person or persons currently in charge or mandated by a higher authority to lead. It can destroy a family, a neighborhood, a city, state or nation if allowed to flourish.
Projection leads to distrust, insurrection and eventually open rebellion. It is a destroyer of souls.
Interestingly Rabbi Liebenberg, whom I have a great deal of respect for, has also approached this parsha from the aspect of projection. You can find his teaching on this HERE.
Until next time — Shalom!