Simultaneously, our Torah reading this week chronicles a failed rebellion against Moses, and we celebrate our National Independence, at least, on the American side of the border.
The contrast between these two rebellions is interesting.
Korach’s complaint against Moses has been viewed in Jewish tradition as a mere grumble about power-sharing among the top of the Israelite hierarchy. After all, Korach was a Levite and already had special privileges, and he seemed peeved by Moses’ centralized leadership.
As scholars of scripture and history, and people concerned with the balance between liberty and the rule of law, the leaders of the American Revolution, tread very carefully in the framing of their objections to British rule, and their pursuit of rebellion against an oppressive power.
Accepting that many of those objections were in the self-interest of the already significantly privileged landowners, their devotion to language that was inclusive of many other American colonists showed wisdom in crafting a nation that may have turned out to be far more focused on equality than any of our Founders anticipated.
As we take a break to celebrate both the Fourth of July and Shabbat, we can reflect on the thousands of years of concerted effort behind us, and the years of work ahead, devoted to building free communities guided by mutual responsibility.