Korach: Circles and Squares



One of the great life questions is answered by the Torah reading this week: Can we ever hope to balance our loftier, spiritual pursuits with our mundane, tangible realities? Can we bridge our transcendental needs and our struggle for material survival – or are the two destined to remain perpetually at odds?

Korach (in this week’s reading) and the scouts (in last week’s reading) personified two extremes – spiritual insulation and material immersion, which are also reflected into two personality types: the circle and the square. Are you a circle or a square? Some people are squares, others circles. A square (according to Webster) is “a person who is conventional or conservative in taste or way of life.” Or a person who is very linear and limited and cannot see “out of the box” … The circle, by contrast, is a personality that thrives on the abstract and intangible. “Circular” personalities are exciting, spontaneous, flexible. But they are also not necessarily grounded; you never know where they stand.

We all would like to have spouses/friends who embody the best of both worlds … who are reliable, steady, solid … straight shooters … yet also fun, enchanting, adventurous. But is that possible? Aren’t the two personality types diametric opposites? How then can we expect to fuse them together?

The Torah teaches us how. From the lessons of Korach and the scouts, we learn the importance of balancing the circle and the square, and in the process also appreciate the role and the need for a true leader.

This is a two part sermon/class:

PART I: “Reconciling Two Personality Types” examines the square and circle through the eyes of this week’s Torah reading, with a focus on leadership.
PART II: “The Mystical Understanding of a Jewish Wedding” examines the square and the circle through the eyes of Kabbalah with a focus on marriage.

The second part contains material usable at a wedding ceremony.


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The Meaningful Life Center