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    Why Not Daven for Korach

    The posuk in Bamidbar 17:31 says, “As soon as Moshe finished talking to them, the ground opened up and swallowed them.” The kashya is, why didn’t Moshe daven that Korach should do teshuva? Moshe was the one who davened on behalf of Klal Yisroel that they should do teshuva and Hashem should accept their teshuva. Rabbeinu Bachya asks this question and adds that there is no aveira that can not be forgiven via teshuva. We even find the Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 10:5 says that Moshe davened on behalf of Korach V’adaso that they should not lose their share in Olam Haba so why didn’t Moshe daven for this world too?

    There are a number of answers to the above question. The first answer is that Moshe felt weakened since Bnei Yisroel sinned so many times that Moshe lost the ability to daven for them in this world. The second tirutz could be that Moshe was worried that during the time he will be davening for Korach, more of the Bnei Yisroel will be caught up with apikorsus and therefore time was of essence.

    The third tirutz is that since Korach was mezalzel in Moshe Rabbeinu, the tefillah would therefore not even help. This would be similar to a person who was very stingy and was always annoying his contemporary who was a big baal tzedaka. This friend of his would sign as a guarantor of loans. Everyone recognized this friend as a great person. One day the miser lost all his money and needed a loan so he asked his friend to sign on his loan, which the friend did. When he got to the bank, he was refused his request. They said, “We don’t trust the signature.” The miser complained and said, “You gave loans to everyone else based on this signature, but not to me?” They answered him, “Since you always made fun of him, chances are that you got this signature fraudulently.” Similarly, if Moshe would daven for Korach, it would seem to be fraudulent since Korach challenged him.

    The fourth answer is that Moshe had davened to Hashem during Makkas Choshech that Hashem should not kill Korach and Dasan and Aviram. Hashem told him, I will listen to you but you will regret it later. At this point he could not daven on their behalf since Hashem had proven to him that they did not deserve to survive Makkas Choshech.

    The last answer could be based on what the Mashgiach of Chevron says in his sefer Ohr Meir. He explains that Moshe Rabbeinu was actually punished because he did not daven that Korach and his eida should do teshuva, The least that Moshe should have davened for was that Korach get a job in the Mishkan. This is based on Gemara Sotah 13b that says: who was greater than Moshe Rabbeinu where Hashem said to him “rav lach”? Hashem refused his tefilla with the word “rav” in response to Moshe saying, ”Rav lachem bnei Levi.” Hashem said to Moshe, you hit them with a stick and with the same stick you will be hit.

    May we be zocheh that all of Klal Yisroel do teshuva!