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The virus of being offended


During my forty six years as a believer I have noticed that within the “body of Yeshua’s followers” there has been a rampant and constant outbreak of “the virus of being offended.” One of the main root causes of being offended is illustrated in Korach’s rebellion against Moshe Rabeinu – Moses our Teacher. (BaMidbar 16:1-35 ) My goal in tackling this subject is to enable believers to rid themselves of this deadly disease.

(I am assuming that you are familiar with the details of this story so in the body of this article the I won’t be including the above referenced verses.)

Pithy Phrases About Being Offended

Before we dive into the account of Korach I would like to share with you some interesting expressions regarding being offended.

Being offended is a choice
Being offended does not make you right
The feeling of being offended is a warning indicator that is showing you where to LOOK within yourself for unresolved issues. (Bryant H. McGill)
Blessed is he or she who avoids being offended

The Root of Korach’s Offense


In order to understand the root cause of Korach’s offense one needs to delve into his genealogy. (BaMidbar 3:19) You will need to read points A-F several times to better understand Korach’s genealogy.

A. Korach’s uncle was Amram. Amram was the first born son of Kehat (Kohath).

B. Amram’s children (Kehat’s first three grandchildren) were Aharon (Aaron), Miriam, and Moshe. Each one was appointed as a prominent leader within Bnei Yisrael – Aharon as the High Priest, Miriam as a Prophetess, and Moshe as the leader of the nation.

C. Korach’s father was Yitzhar(Izhar) the second son of Kehat .

D. Korach was the first son of Yitzhar which made him the fourth grandson of Kehat (Kohath).

E. According to protocol the next in line for a prominent leadership position was Korach. That position being the leader of the tribe of Kehat.

F. However Korach’s position was given to Elitzaphan who was the second son of his father’s youngest brother Uzziel and the eighth grandson of Kehat. ( BaMidbar 3:30)

The Rebellion and It’s Consequences

Therefore Korach became resentful because he felt that as the fourth grandson of Kehat and according to the rules of succession that he deserved to be the clan leader NOT Elitzaphan who was Kehat’s eighth grandson.

Furthermore, Korach thought that Moshe was responsible for his being denied the position as the leader of the clan of Kehat.

His – Korach’s – resentment led to disappointment. His disappointment led to deeply hurt feelings. His deeply hurt feelings led to being OFFENDED. His being OFFENDED led to an ill-advised rebellion which ended up destroying himself as well as his neighbors.

The tribes and clans were arranged around the Mishkan (tabernacle) in such a way that Korach was a close neighbor of the Revenites . Notice that those who joined him in his “cause” were Revenites – Dathan, Abiram, and the sons of Eliab and Peleth

mishkan arrangement

Usually people who are offended try to gather followers by sowing seeds of dissension to support their offense. The end result is that innocent people become infected with “the virus of being offended” to the point of taking the offended person’s offense as their own.

The Revenites who took on Korach’s offense ended up being swallowed up into the depths of the earth and not only them but their entire families – innocent women and children were also horribly destroyed.

Divine Solutions For Devilish Problems

The feeling of being offended is tied to a three lettered word – EGO or pride. Pride or ego is defined as a belief in one’s own self importance.

Getting rid of one’s pride is an effective medicine to be healed from ‘the virus of being offended.”

As it is written in the Book of James:

What is causing all the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it your desires battling inside you? You desire things and don’t have them. You kill, and you are jealous, and you still can’t get them. So you fight and quarrel. The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive, that of wanting to indulge your own desires. You unfaithful wives! Don’t you know that loving the world is hating God? Whoever chooses to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy! Or do you suppose the Scripture speaks in vain when it says that there is a spirit in us which longs to envy? 6 But the grace he gives is greater, which is why it says,
“God opposes the arrogant,
but to the humble he gives grace.” Therefore, submit to God. Moreover, take a stand against the Adversary, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded people! Wail, mourn, sob! Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom! Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:1-10)


My advice is to take the medicine and humble yourself. As it is written in the Book of Rabbi Yosef:

Blessed is he or she who avoids being offended. For they shall lead a life filled with Shalom!

Yosef Koelner
Yosef Koelner was born in Chicago and raised in a Jewish home that his parents characterized as “Orthodox”. At birth he was given two first names, an English one, Harvey, and a Hebrew name, Yosef, which was given to him in remembrance of his mother’s deceased brother, Chaim Yosef. Rabbi Yosef’s education includes but is not limited to a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Illinois State University and a MA in Jewish Studies from Gratz College as well as a Doctor of Practical Ministry from Wagner Leadership Institute. He also graduated from Ulpan Alef (Hebrew language studies) Katsrin, Israel. Additional studies include The University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and an Orthodox Yeshivah in Tzfat Yisrael. His ministry spans four decades and he is currently the Rabbi of Kehilat Bet Avinu. He can be contacted at

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