1 And Hashem spoke unto Moshe, saying:
א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.
3 even the fire-pans of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar for they are become holy, because they were offered before Hashem that they may be a sign unto B’nei Yisrael.’
5 to be a memorial unto B’nei Yisrael, to the end that no common man, that is not of the seed of Aharon, draw near to burn incense before Hashem; that he fare not as Korakh, and as his company; as Hashem spoke unto him by the hand of Moshe.
7 And it came to pass, when the congregation was assembled against Moshe and against Aharon, that they looked toward the Tent of Meeting; and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Hashem appeared.
ז וַיְהִי בְּהִקָּהֵל הָעֵדָה עַל מֹשֶׁה וְעַל אַהֲרֹן וַיִּפְנוּ אֶל אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהִנֵּה כִסָּהוּ הֶעָנָן וַיֵּרָא כְּבוֹד יְהוָה.
ח וַיָּבֹא מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֶל פְּנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד.
9 And Hashem spoke unto Moshe, saying:
ט וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.
10 ‘Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.’ And they fell upon their faces.
י הֵרֹמּוּ מִתּוֹךְ הָעֵדָה הַזֹּאת וַאֲכַלֶּה אֹתָם כְּרָגַע וַיִּפְּלוּ עַל פְּנֵיהֶם.
11 And Moshe said unto Aharon: ‘Take thy fire-pan, and put fire therein from off the altar, and lay incense thereon, and carry it quickly unto the congregation, and make atonement for them; for there is wrath gone out from Hashem: the plague is begun.’
יב וַיִּקַּח אַהֲרֹן כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה וַיָּרָץ אֶל תּוֹךְ הַקָּהָל וְהִנֵּה הֵחֵל הַנֶּגֶף בָּעָם וַיִּתֵּן אֶת הַקְּטֹרֶת וַיְכַפֵּר עַל הָעָם.
13 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
יג וַיַּעֲמֹד בֵּין הַמֵּתִים וּבֵין הַחַיִּים וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה.
14 Now they that died by the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides them that died about the matter of Korakh.
יד וַיִּהְיוּ הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה אַרְבָּעָה עָשָׂר אֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת מִלְּבַד הַמֵּתִים עַל דְּבַר קֹרַח.
טו וַיָּשָׁב אַהֲרֹן אֶל מֹשֶׁה אֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהַמַּגֵּפָה נֶעֱצָרָה.
16 And Hashem spoke unto Moshe, saying:
טז וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.
17 ‘Speak unto B’nei Yisrael, and take of them rods, one for each fathers’ house, of all their princes according to their fathers’ houses, twelve rods; thou shalt write every man’s name upon his rod.
יז דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְקַח מֵאִתָּם מַטֶּה מַטֶּה לְבֵית אָב מֵאֵת כָּל נְשִׂיאֵהֶם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מַטּוֹת אִישׁ אֶת שְׁמוֹ תִּכְתֹּב עַל מַטֵּהוּ.
19 And thou shalt lay them up in the Tent of Meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you.
יט וְהִנַּחְתָּם בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לִפְנֵי הָעֵדוּת אֲשֶׁר אִוָּעֵד לָכֶם שָׁמָּה.
20 And it shall come to pass, that the man whom I shall choose, his rod shall bud; and I will make to cease from Me the murmurings of B’nei Yisrael, which they murmur against you.’
כ וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֶבְחַר בּוֹ מַטֵּהוּ יִפְרָח וַהֲשִׁכֹּתִי מֵעָלַי אֶת תְּלֻנּוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הֵם מַלִּינִם עֲלֵיכֶם.
22 And Moshe laid up the rods before Hashem in the tent of the testimony.
כב וַיַּנַּח מֹשֶׁה אֶת הַמַּטֹּת לִפְנֵי יְהוָה בְּאֹהֶל הָעֵדֻת.
23 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moshe went into the tent of the testimony; and, behold, the rod of Aharon for the house of Levi was budded, and put forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.
Legendary Israeli storyteller, Rabbi S.Z. Kahana tells a story of three clergymen on a visit to Mount Zion in 1965. When they asked the Jewish curator of Mt. Zion why the Jews claim Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, instead of letting it remain an international city, he replied with an example. “The Bible relates in Numbers 17 that when Moses appointed Aaron as High Priest, the people objected and murmured… Neither the earthquake that swallowed Korakh and his followers nor the plague that followed were enough to convince the people that Aharon had been appointed by God. It was only once his staff blossomed that they accepted him as the Kohen, since it showed the vitality of life. The curator invited the visiting clergymen to climb up with him to the mountain’s Observation Tower. “From here you can see both the old and new Jerusalem. In the old Arab controlled section of the city, as you can observe, there is desolation: ruins, desert, and rocks. On our side is the new Jerusalem, where over 150,000 have settled. You can see our new homes, schools, the new hospital and the new university. Everywhere you look, you see life, growth, and vitality. You ask to whom does Jerusalem belong. It belongs to those who make it bud and blossom, to those who make it live and grow.” Nearly half a century later, Jewish Jerusalem continues to show even more incredible signs of life and vitality. Jerusalem in Jewish hands is indeed ordained by God.
כד וַיֹּצֵא מֹשֶׁה אֶת כָּל הַמַּטֹּת מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה אֶל כָּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּרְאוּ וַיִּקְחוּ אִישׁ מַטֵּהוּ.
25 And Hashem said unto Moshe: ‘Put back the rod of Aharon before the testimony, to be kept there, for a token against the rebellious children; that there may be made an end of their murmurings against Me, that they die not.’
כה וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה הָשֵׁב אֶת מַטֵּה אַהֲרֹן לִפְנֵי הָעֵדוּת לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת לְאוֹת לִבְנֵי מֶרִי וּתְכַל תְּלוּנֹּתָם מֵעָלַי וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ.
26 Thus did Moshe; as Hashem commanded him, so did he.
כו וַיַּעַשׂ מֹשֶׁה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֹתוֹ כֵּן עָשָׂה.
כז וַיֹּאמְרוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵאמֹר הֵן גָּוַעְנוּ אָבַדְנוּ כֻּלָּנוּ אָבָדְנוּ.
28 Every one that cometh near, that cometh near unto the Mishkan of Hashem, is to die; shall we wholly perish?’
כח כֹּל הַקָּרֵב הַקָּרֵב אֶל מִשְׁכַּן יְהוָה יָמוּת הַאִם תַּמְנוּ לִגְו ֹעַ.