This week's parsha features the rebellion of Korach and his followers against Moshe. Korach's main point of contention was Moshe's appointment of Elizafan Ben Uziel as a Prince, even though, in terms of age, Korach was next in line. Korach, perceiving this to be a fabrication of the will of HaShem, gathered together two-hundred and fifty heads of the assembly to challenge Moshe's leadership.
The Medrash Tanchuma asks a deeply penetrating question regarding the motives of Korach. "Korach was a clever man; what did he see that brought him to such foolishness? The medrash answers "His eyes misled him, for he saw a great chain of descendants emerging from him: Shmuel Hanavi, who was as important as Moshe and Aharon, as it says in Tehillim (99:6) 'Moshe and Aharon were among his priests and Shmuel was among those who invoke his name.'" Korach saw from the fact that Shmuel is mentioned in the same sentence as Moshe and Aharon, that Shmuel is just as important as them.
Korach's line of reasoning is very difficult to understand. He feels that he is justified in replacing Moshe and Aharon as leader because he saw that one of his descendants will a very important person. How does his offspring prove that he is fitting to be a leader? If Shmuel himself was leading this rebellion, then the argument would make sense: Shmuel is just as important as Moshe and Aharon, so perhaps he could be fitting to lead in their place. But what does Shmuel's greatness say about Korach's own worthiness? Furthermore, this thought process only proves the very opposite Korach's entire goal. Inherent in his line of reasoning is the assumption that Moshe and Aharon are men of spiritual greatness. Korach deduces that since Shmuel is just as important as them, Korach himself deserves to lead. But yet, he claims that Moshe and Aharon are unfitting, and that they are fabricating the will of HaShem. How can they be great enough to prove his own greatness, yet not great enough to be the rightful leaders? How can Korach make such an illogical argument?
From here we can learn a tremendous lesson what having a personal bias - a negiah- can do to a straight-thinking person. When one has a negiah; even a minutely subconscious one, he can skew reality with an absolutely newfangled interpretation, just in order for it to fit into his desired goal. Korach's main thrust was to overtake Moshe and Aharon was his desire for honor. This negiah led him so far astray: he came to the ridiculous conclusion that he was fitting to be a leader, even though the progeny that would have actually been fitting for the job would not be born for generations. Additionally, it caused him to mount a rebellion against leaders which he himself inherently believed were great and holy men!
We see further proof to this idea in the very words of the Medrash. It says, "His eyes mistook him for he saw a great chain of descendant's emerging from him." Why does the Medrash use the "eyes" to connote his mistake? Why not say simply "he made a mistake"?
The passuk in Kriat Shema says "You shall not stray after your heart and after your eyes." Here, HaShem warns us not to desire that which we see with our eyes. From this we learn that the "eyes" imply desire. Perhaps according this explanation, the Medrash is telling us that Korach's personal desire for kavod is what led him to skew and misinterpret reality.
May we merit the strength to realize and overcome our biases, and may we be able to see reality in a pure form that will allow us to fulfill the true will of HaShem.