Behind the Scenes
Yael Eckstein | June 23, 2020
Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent — Numbers 16:1
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Korach, which means “Korah,” from Numbers 16:1–18:32.
Since stepping into the role of President and CEO of The Fellowship, I have assumed a highly visible profile. People know me because of the job I do. They see me welcoming new immigrants to Israel who have arrived on The Fellowship’s Freedom Flights. They see me visiting elderly Holocaust survivors to bring them lifesaving food and medicine. I interact with government officials and media on behalf of the people we serve.
I love my job. I love being able to help all these people and bring Christians and Jews together for God’s purposes. But it’s the job I do behind the scenes that is truly most important to me. That’s the job of being a wife, a mother to my four beautiful children, being a daughter, sister, and a friend.
And, as is so often the case, the most important jobs are the ones that people don’t see.
This week’s Torah portion opens with the infamous rebellion of Korah and his followers. Three men, aside from Korah, are singled out in the first verse: “Dathan and Abiram … and On son of Peleth.” Interestingly, while we hear plenty about Dathan and Abiram in the following verses, nothing more is said about On. What was his fate?
According to Judaism’s Oral Tradition, it was On’s wife who acted powerfully upon his behalf. She reasoned with him to reconsider serving Korah. She gave him a strong drink, so he was asleep when Korah’s men came to get him. And finally, she prayed for her husband’s life to be spared, and her prayer was answered.
So it might seem strange that the story of On’s wife isn’t recorded in the Bible, but that’s exactly the point. The world is often moved by those working behind the scenes. It’s the mother who encourages her child. The wife who advises her husband well. The friend who supports another friend during a hard time. The teacher who inspires a student who goes on to do great things.
Like the wind that goes unseen but powerfully blows a ship towards its destination, we can quietly and humbly support our loved ones and help them become all that they can.
Your turn: Think of the people in your life who have acted behind the scenes to encourage and help you. Take time to send them a note of thanks!