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    Dasan and Aviram

    In Shemos 10:22 Moshe tilted his hand toward the heaven and darkness descended all over Mitzrayim and one was able to feel the darkness. Rashi explains the reason Hashem made darkness was so that the Jews of that generations who were resha’im and did not want to leave Mitzrayim would die during those three days and the Mitzriyim would not see it and say that the Jews are being punished just like us. In the gemara in Megillah 11a we see that Dasan and Aviram were wicked from beginning to end. Why were they not killed during those three days of darkness?

    There are a number of answers to this question. The first answer is based on the Rosh that says the only ones who were killed during the three days of darkness were the ones who did not believe they would be redeemed. Dasan and Aviram believed that they would be redeemed; hence they were not killed.

    The second tirutz is based on the Divrei Sholom that says that Dasan and Aviram were destined to have the earth open up to swallow them together with Korach and his followers. It would seem that they had no free will. The explanation could be that they had free will, but Hashem knew what they would choose, therefore Hashem predetermined that they should be swallowed in to the earth. This decree dated as far back as the six days of creation. The Chasam Sofer adds that the miracle of the earth opening up was made special for Dasan and Aviram since Korach and the rest of the community were first burned and the earth swallowed them only after they died. Dasan and Aviram were swallowed into the ground while they were still alive.

    The third tirutz is based on the Maharil Diskin that says that since Dasan and Aviram were destined to be part of the Jewish taskmasters who took the hit for the Bnei Yisroel when Pharaoh added to their hard work they were unable to be killed by the Malach Hamaves. The Malach Hamaves cannot kill anyone who takes a punishment on behalf of other Jews. The taskmasters (including Dasan and Aviram) also had the zchus that the Yam Suf was split in their merit. Yet all this could not save them and their children under age 13 from being swallowed into the ground. This goes to show how great is the punishment for machlokes.

    The fourth tirutz is based on the Chasam Sofer in Parshas Beshalach that says since Dasan and Aviram helped Moshe out by making him run away to Midyan which was where he was raised. Despite the fact they meant it to be a rishus, Dasan and Aviram nevertheless got rewarded for it. There is an animal call the Ayala that has a tight uterus and can’t give birth, so Hashem makes sure that at the time of birth the uterus gets bitten by a snake helping it give birth. The snake, who appears to be hurting the Ayala, is actually helping him. Similarly, Dasan and Aviram actually helped Moshe.

    The fifth tirutz is that Hashem wanted to kill all the reshaim in Mitzrayim, but Moshe davened to Hashem to save their lives. Hashem said I will save two reshaim in your zchus, but you will see what kind of damage they will perpetrate. The ta’ana against Moshe was that he should have davened that these reshaim should do teshuva, not just save their lives.

    The sixth and final tirutz is that it could be that since Dasan and Aviram looked like tzaddikim and if they would have died it would have been a chillul Hashem, the people would say that even tzaddikim died during the three days of darkness. They therefore were zocheh to stay alive.

    May we be zocheh to be like the people in Mitzrayim who believed in the geulah and may we have the geulah sheleima bikarov.