Our Torah distinctly divides certain positions of leadership among the different segments of the Jewish people. Kingship was given to the tribe of Judah. The Kehunah was given to the family of Aharon. In certain periods of Jewish history we find an attempt made to cross over these lines.
In the Biblical book of Divre Hayamim (Chron.II 26,16-21) we read that King Uzziyahu wanted to serve in the Bet Hamikdash as a Kohen though he was not one. Uzziyahu was a good king who followed in the ways of the Torah and strengthened the country and built it up. Yet his very success misled him and encouraged him to seek a position to which he was not entitled. We are told how his life after that attempt ended in disaster.
In a later period in Jewish history we find the Chasmona’im, who were Kohanim, after their great military success in the story of Chanukah decided to name themselves kings over the land. Their history led to terrible fighting among their descendants and ended up with the Romans conquering the land.
In this week’s Portion we find Korah attempting to take for himself the position of Kohen which was given to Aharon. This led to his destruction and that of his followers.
The lesson implied in these events in our history is a person should know his limitations and should not try to usurp positions to which he is not entitled.