Wealth in the World of the Sages: Why Were Korach and Moses Rich People?

L. J. Greenspoon (ed.), Wealth and Poverty in Jewish Tradition, West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2015, pp. 1-12  Meir Bar-Ilan

 

The aim of this paper is to discuss wealth among the Jews in Antiquity, not from a historical point of view, but rather from a theological perspective: how the Rabbis understood wealth and how they viewed its implications. The social-historical perspective of the first and the second centuries should be left to well-documented papers and books,1 while here we will concentrate on the way in which wealth was perceived. This will be done with the help of the Rabbis’ legends. Needless to say, there is no intention of covering the whole subject per se, since that goal is beyond the scope of this paper. Rather, we will look into the way the Rabbis depicted two biblical figures, and this will illustrate the way in which wealth was understood in the sages' times, from approximately the first to the third centuries. In other words, this paper will focus on values and theology more than history.

It is well known that there is a gap between the way biblical figures are depicted in the Bible and the way they are depicted in the Talmudic corpus (that contains not only the Talmud but several midrashim as well). The oral traditions are by far larger and richer than the written tradition, but it should be kept in mind that the transmitters and developers of the oral tradition saw themselves as a part of the whole tradition, and from their perspective the true interpreters of the former.

In most cases the biblical personages who appear in the rabbinic corpus are depicted in detail, including dialogues and events—much more than is written in the Bible—so the biblical figures become "heavier" in literary terms. However, there are times when there is a great difference between the biblical figure and the way he, or she, is characterized by the rabbis. There are few figures who have one character in the Bible and the opposite one in the midrash,2 so one should rather ask how this occurred, and what caused the rabbis to "reshape" a biblical figure into a character who seems so different than the one who appears in the Bible. As a matter of fact, there are many such cases, though there is no need to discuss each and every one at present.

However, there are cases when the biblical "hero" is depicted with a special "touch"; that is to say, there is a gap between the biblical figure and the Talmudic one, though the depictions of the individual are not polarized. Hereafter will be discussed two biblical figures: Korah and Moses, who are described in the Bible without the glamour of wealth, while in the rabbinic narrative these two became rich, and thus questions arise: how did this occur? Why were they depicted by the rabbis as rich people?

Now, before we continue in our study one should recall that in the Bible there are few people who are depicted as wealthy. Examples are Abraham, King Solomon, and Job. That is to say, there are cases in the Bible where the narrator portrays his protagonist by making him [never her] a rich person, and it is quite clear why he does so. However, other people in the account, according the narrator, are not rich, so it seems, and therefore it will be a kind of intellectual adventure to understand why the rabbis made these specific biblical heroes rich men.

A. KORAH THE RICH

As the biblical text reads, the story of Korah is a story of rebellion against Moses (Num. 16). While wandering in the wilderness Moses was the leader of the children of Israel after he saved them from Egypt. Korah, who was a cousin of Moses, came before Moses accompanied by 250 people and wanted his share in the leadership. The story is well-known, especially because of the dramatic punishment of the rebels: the earth opened its mouth and swallowed all of them, and all of their possessions, including children and family.

It is clear that the biblical story is a story about sin and punishment. This is not only a theological story but a colorful account as well, so one can understand the focus of some of the stories of the rabbis about Korah and those who accompanied him.3 However, one is a bit confused why the rabbis said that Korah was rich. What made them point this out (unlike the biblical narrator)? How does this characterization serve the story? Hereafter we will discuss some of the explanations that might be given for this phenomenon: the richness of the protagonist as a gap between the written and the oral Jewish traditions.

1. THE TRADITIONAL OR TRULY NAÏVE EXPLANATION

It is assumed that for many centuries the oral tradition was accepted, prima facie, as an ancient truth. The oral traditions were understood to originate at the same time and place as the written Torah. There was no chronological gap and thus there was not – at least, so it was understood – any thematic or theological gap between the Bible and the post-biblical Aggadah. In former centuries the whole concept of history and historical change, or historicity, was far from being acknowledged by anyone, until about the beginning of the nineteenth century. Thus, Jewish heritage accepts Talmudic legends and merges them with biblical stories, as if all tell the same truth, without being aware of their different literary and chronological origins. From this point of view, Korah was rich because so tradition dictates, and it does not matter whether this comes from a written or an oral tradition: both occurred together.

From a modern perspective, it should be admitted that the rabbinic Aggadah is based on stories that had been circulating for generations, telling the details of events that took place before millennia. One may see these stories as mere anachronisms and the attitude towards them – that the two media originated from the same time and place – as naïve. From a modern perspective traditional societies, such as that of the Jews, seem to be naïve in many ways, and thus one may say that the concept of Korah as a rich man is not based on any true history; anyone who accepts this fact displays naivety. Thus, a modern critical mind negates tradition outright and considers it a false truth. However, this critical perspective does not explain how the depiction of Korah's richness came about, so we have to continue in our search for the reason why Korah became rich in the post-biblical tradition.

2. THE TRADITIONAL, SOPHISTICATED EXPLANATION

In the twentieth century, within the framework of the traditional interpretation, a new type of explanation emerged that might be called the traditional-sophisticated explanation. I do not know of any other commentator besides R. Baruch Halevi Epstein (1860-1941) who developed this concept. Epstein first did so in his well-known commentary of the Torah: Torah Temima (first published: 1902). In this book Epstein tried to connect oral and written tradition in a new way. First, he collected many of the sages’ traditions with regard to the biblical text and published them on one page, and then he wrote his own observations trying to explain exactly how the sages derived their halachot or stories out of the biblical text. Epstein saw the ancient rabbis as highly sophisticated readers of the biblical text and it appears that his appreciation is not far from being correct. As a matter of fact, Epstein himself was such a reader, and perhaps because of that he preferred not to take the rabbinical pulpit, but rather worked as a high clerk in a bank. Epstein wrote several books using his erudition as well as his linguistic and other skills to describe how one should read and understand rabbinic text. His book Torah Temima became very popular, as it is until this very day—a rare case indeed.

Epstein, as his commentary demonstrates, was of the opinion that the rabbis' traditions are based on the biblical text, and that the rabbis found all their traditions "inside" the text, just as one might hang something on a hinge on the wall. His goal in his commentary, it appears, was to find the hint that is the hinge from which the rabbis developed their traditions. According to this view, everything is already in the biblical text, though implicit, and one should merely work to find the clue. It seems that Epstein was, to an extent, under the influence of his predecessors: the MALBIM (Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Weiser), a rabbi and a commentator who quoted Philo and Kant, and the NEZIV (Naphtali Zvi Yehuda Berlin), his uncle and the head of the famous yeshiva in Volozin, Lithuania, who lived in the nineteenth century. One may see their influence on Epstein's work, though it must be stated that Epstein was more systematic than either of them in his method of explaining the "rabbinic mind" or the tradition-makers’ assumptions.

According to this view, one may look again into the biblical text in order to explain how Korah became rich in the rabbis' view. According to this way of thinking, going back to the Bible leads one to realize that the desideratum "hinge" is found there. At the end of the story (Num. 16:32) it states: 'And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods'. That is to say, Korah had "goods" ( רכושו ) in the wilderness, which arouse surprise as to how Korah became rich (in the wilderness, unlike Abraham, who got his gold from Pharaoh, or Job, who was rich in the first place).

The above explanation was not given by Epstein, but is based on his method. It is true that Epstein was severely criticized by some rabbis, among them R. Menachem Mendle Kasher.4 However, his criticism, like that of others, focused on a different aspect of Epstein's book, claiming that 1) Epstein distorted the sources, invented them, or in some cases did not understand them properly, and 2) Epstein took most of his comments from former rabbis without acknowledging them, to make one believe he had done all his work relying on his memory alone. However, these accusations are not relevant to this paper, which focuses on a different aspect of Epstein's thesis, and acknowledging his critics should not hinder us from understanding his contribution. In other words, Epstein's view that all oral tradition is somehow connected, related, or rooted in the biblical text seems to be quite logical, and nobody has refuted this concept as of yet. If this is the case, one may say that it is quite clear how Korah became rich in the eyes of the rabbis: the idea was already there in the text.

3. THE HISTORICAL-CRITICAL EXPLANATION

After stating the former way of thinking, we can move to the more modern view of understanding the sages' traditions. The main issue here is not the theological values of the rabbis, but rather the Sitz im Leben of their biblical legends. The modern study of Judaism differs between the literary sources and tries to explain the circumstances under which the "new" values emerged. In other words: under what circumstances were the rabbis' legends articulated? Was there a connection between those legends and the times in which the rabbis lived? In what way do those legends reflect the plain text of the Bible, or do they rather reflect the lives of the sages who told them?

Adolf Büchler (1867-1939) was probably the first scholar to take rabbinic legends and interpret them as a kind of a historical evidence of the rabbis themselves. It is assumed his method was developed under the influence of the way German scholars analyzed myths at the end of the nineteenth century, though this influence cannot be seen explicitly in his writing. Büchler's method is described, in a brief manner, when he discusses Jewish leaders in Sepphories in the second to third centuries by using their sermons discussing biblical figures.5 The basic idea is that there are circumstances when a rabbi could not openly condemn the behavior of the leaders of his time, and to be politically correct he transferred his criticism to remote biblical times and figures.

Moshe Beer (1924-2003), my former teacher, was, in a way, an intellectual student of Büchler, though they never met. Beer wrote several articles based on the aforementioned method, which he also developed. Beer dedicated papers, later to be included in his "collected essays",6 to issues such as: 'The riches of Moses in Rabbinic Aggada,' 'The Sons of Samuel in Rabbinic Legends,' and more. Only in his posthumously published paper is the topic stated explicitly: 'The Historical Background of the Legend of Jonathan ben Gershom ben Moshe.' That is to say, when Beer discussed Samuel's sons he was not interested in the biblical figures at all, but rather he took the legends concerning a specific biblical figure as reflecting the rabbis', or authors', days. And there is something else in his method; while Büchler saw the historical facts and only sporadically tried to look at the other side of the coin, the depictions of biblical figures, Beer did his research the other way around: he looked at the rabbis' legends concerning a specific biblical figure and then tried to see the verso of the coin: the historical setting.

All in all, history is reflected in the rabbis' legends. These legends seem to tell events that took place millennium and more ago, but the truth is that they tell about the sages' lives and era. According to this concept, the legends do nothing more than mirror the world of the sages by projecting them into the biblical past.

Now that the methodology of this paper is clear, we can follow the discussion by focusing on Korah, and how, or if, the legends about Korah are in reality historical facts that are hidden in the shadows of sermons and religious sayings.

Coming to our point: the additional adjective for Korah, 'rich', comes from the sage's own experience, but the concept is disguised under legendary and biblical heroes. The realism expressed by Korah the rich is that just as Korah rebelled against Moses, so in the sages' times there were people who rebelled against the rabbis. Not only were they rich, but there was a connection between their wealth and their rebellious behavior.

Now, this type of interpretation suffers from the fact that we cannot prove it definitely. However, it is needless to say that in all generations there were people who did not accept the religious leaders, and this was not only true among the Jews, of course. By stating that Korah was rich the sages used Korah as an archetype of a rebel, a rich person in the community who disagrees with the local rabbi, thus expressing implicitly the wishful thinking that just as Korah’s life was ended by God, God would do the same to the local rich who had scorned that rabbi.

Before trying to explain the historical settings of the rabbis' view of the wealthy Korah, we must go back to all sages' legends concerning this figure. Reading them together shows that the rabbis were very "generous" in their depictions of Korah, and not only by giving him the title "rich". The rabbis had a lot to say about Korah, and described him in a way that is definitely not in the Torah, so the aforementioned "hinge" is missing. Viewing all the legends concerning Korah together will help us to understand the rabbis' view, or perhaps, their world-view.

So, except for stating that Korah was rich, what else did the rabbis have to say about him? Here are some sayings that will be discussed, and after looking at each and every legend, we will characterize the whole figure of Korah and then move forward to understand where descriptions concerning this figure came from, if not the Bible.

To begin the discussion with the biblical Korah as a Talmudic figure it will suffice to mention only a few traditions, and after drawing attention to history, we will go back to the legends. Now, according the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:1): ‘All Israel have a share in the world to come… But those who will not have a share in the world to come are he who says that resurrection is not in the Torah, or that the Torah was not given from Heaven, or Epicurus. R. Aqiba said: also he who reads external books’.7

It is quite clear that the Mishnah refers to heretical Jews who disagree with the basic theological concepts of rabbinic Judaism (about which more will be said later), among them: the oral tradition as opposed to heretical written books. In the Palestinian Talmud (Sanh. 10:1, 28a), as a comment on this Mishnah, it is stated: 'Rav said: Korah was an Epicarsi… he said to Moses: a tallit that is whole tchelet (light blue), does it need a Tsitsit?8 A house full of books, does it need a Mezuza? At that moment Korah said: the Torah was not given from Heaven, Moses is not a prophet, neither Aaron a high priest'.

One may conclude that according to Rav (R. Abba, third century) Korah was Epicurean, named after Epicurus (341 – 270 BCE), a name that became a nickname for any Jewish heretic.9 In other words, Korah is depicted as a heretical Jew who not only rebelled against Moses and Aaron, as in the Bible, but he also did not acknowledge the divinity of the Torah, as heretics might have done. According to R. Akiba (b. San. 109b), all the congregation of Korah has no share in the world to come, and this notion goes hand in hand with the aforementioned Mishnah and with a later midrash as well. In Midrash Hagadol (Numbers 16:1), a medieval midrash that contains old traditions, it is stated: ‘(Korah) went astray to Minuth (heresy), and he denied the commandments given by God’. So now it becomes clear that Korah was portrayed as a heretical Jew and this is evident already in third century rabbinic sources (if not slightly earlier).

Coming to the historical setting, it was Adolf Büchler who wrote extensively on Jewish heresies in the Galilee in the second to third centuries.10 A later scholar discussed the Minim but did not mention Büchler, for some reason.11 However, in both papers there are collected sayings and beliefs of the heresies in antiquity, so one can compare the historical heresies on the one hand and the biblical Korah, that is, the rabbinical Korah, on the other.

In Talmudic sources there are dozens of traditions concerning confrontations of all sorts between heresies and rabbis. They discussed biblical verses, argued about certain halachot, and so on. It seems that the satirical polemic of Korah against Moses, a mockery of the rabbinic rules that is recorded in the Palestinian Talmud (and later midrashim) is nothing less than a reflection of a dispute between a Tanna and a heretic Jew.12 That is to say, the sages took contemporary dialogues between rabbis and heretics and used them when portraying biblical figures, in this case, Korah.13 Furthermore, according to R. Akiva, Korah and his entire congregation will not enter the world to come (t. San. 13:9; b. San. 109b), and by that it is implied that in the second century there were not only scattered individual heretics, but a congregation(s) of heretics (presumably with many books). Summing up this line of thought: Korah was depicted by the rabbis as a heretic Jew by applying to him the qualities of heretics that lived among the Jews in the second to third centuries.

A question now arises: Korah was depicted as a kind of archetype of a heretical Jew, one who challenges religious leadership, but why was Korah portrayed as wealthy? How does this fact substantiate the notion of heresy?

As a matter of fact, the explanation to this simple question is already stated in our sources. In Ps. Jonathan (Num. 16:19), an Aramaic translation of the Bible, it is stated as follows: ‘And Korah assembled all the congregation to the gate of the tabernacle and with his riches he became arrogant14... and with those riches he wanted to get rid of Moses and Aahron from this world had not The Holy revealed Himself to the whole congregation.’15 That is to say, according the rabbis Korah’s riches were a vehicle through which he wanted to get rid of the rabbinic leaders. Heretics could mock the rabbis, but only with money could they influence their Jewish society by getting rid, one way or another, of an unwanted rabbi.

In conclusion, according the rabbis, the biblical figure of Korah (as well as other biblical figures) is a kind of archetype, or even a mythical figure, representing an everlasting truth that one can find in any generation. The rabbis depicted Korah as a heretical Jew who fought the rabbinic leadership with the help of his money.

B. MOSES THE RICH

There is another biblical figure who is known from the Bible, but only in the rabbinic corpus is he characterized as rich, and that man is Moses. Before we continue we must stress that there is no connection whatsoever between Korah the rich and Moses the rich, since their respective wealth comes from different sources. There was never a dispute between Korah the rich and Moses the rich, and each figure belongs to a different realm (just as one cannot compare Red Riding Hood with Peter Pan). And there is something else: the riches of Moses have already been discussed by M. Beer, and hereafter I follow his steps.16 Once again the question arises: what made the rabbis proclaim that Moses was rich?

Let us look at the wealth of Moses according the rabbis. In p. Talmud Sheqalim 5:2 49a it is stated as follows:

Said R. Hama b. R. Hanina: ‘On the basis of the refuse of the tablets [which Moses got to keep], Moses got rich.’ That is in line with the following: ‘The Lord said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets…” (Exod. 34:1]. This indicates that the cuttings [the refuse] should belong to Moses’.

Said R. Hanin: ‘A quarry of precious stones and pearls did the Holy One, blessed be he, create out of his tent, and from that Moses got rich’.

It is written: ‘Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose up and every man stood at his tent door and looked after Moses, until he had gone into the tent’ (Exod. 33:8).

Two Amoraim: One said, ‘[They stared at him] to scoff’.

The other said, ‘[They stared at him] in admiration’.

The one who said they did so to scoff: ‘Look at those fat thighs, look at that big belly. See the meat that he eats – that belongs to the Jews. See how he drinks – what belongs to the Jews. Whatever property he owns – comes from the Jews’.

The one who said that they did so in admiration: ‘See the righteous man and acquire merit because you have been able to lay eyes on him’.17

In other words, the Amoraim (in the third to fourth centuries) agree that Moses was rich, though they argue concerning the source of his richness.18 According to one of the Amoraim, Moses was rich due to a blessing from God, but another Amora said Moses was rich because he used to eat from the goods of the Jews. That is, Moses took advantage of his position as a leader of the Children of Israel and became fat from their property.

Now, the methodology of our research has already been stated and all we must surmise is what the Sitz im Leben of this accusation was, since it certainly not reflected in the Bible. Therefore, a modern understanding of the richness of Moses should look at any rich person in the days of the sages who might have been a model for a rich Moses.

In general, the rabbis were not rich, except a very few of them, such as R. Tarfon, R. Elazar ben Harsom, ben Elasha (son in law of R. Judah the Patriarch), and R. Judah the Patriarch (c. 136 – c. 220). In rabbinic tradition R. Judah the Patriarch, known also as Rebbi, is known not only for his leadership of the Jews and his connections with the Roman rulers but also for his wealth, and above all, for being the 'editor' or composer of the Mishnah. In the Babylonian Talmud there are more than 60 cases where the Talmud states that ‘our Mishnah’ is Rebbi's,19 so it is not surprising that Rav Shrira Gaon, at the end of the tenth century, saw Rebbi as the editor of the Mishnah (either in its oral or written form). Thus, R. Judah the Patriarch becomes similar to Moses: one gave the written Torah and the other gave the oral Torah, both represented the nation of Israel before the non-Jewish ruler, and both were rich leaders of Israel. Moreover, Moses is depicted in the Torah as the most humble man (Num. 12:3), while it is stated in the Mishnah that when R. Judah the Patriarch passed away, with him also passed humbleness (m. Sotah 9:15).

So far as one can tell, there are no such similarities between any other of the biblical and the rabbinical figures. Therefore, these similarities lead to the assumption that the accusation against Moses the rich was actually an accusation against R. Judah the Patriarch, though in order to be politically correct, or from fear of the reigning force, his name was changed. The sources of the richness of the rabbinic Moses were already been studied, and suffice it to say that they are not based on any biblical text. However, the richness of R. Judah the Patriarch is something else: he had lands in several places in the Land of Israel and many Jews were his tenants.20 Rabbinic sources already been analyzed and it was shown that there were some rabbis who criticized R. Judah the Patriarch,1 so it is not difficult to assume that being so rich, with so many people working for him, might have led to such a complaint that he – Rebbi, not Moses – ‘ate from the Jews’.

In all, Moses the leader of Israel in the Bible finds his counterpart in R. Judah the Patriarch in the days of the sages (second to third centuries). Thus Moses became rich to express in a concealed way that there were Jews who scoffed at Rebbi, the contemporary counterpart of Moses. This type of hidden criticism is quite expected in a traditional society in which a leader with the status of R. Judah the Patriarch would not be openly criticized, and therefore such a reproach, in disguise, should not be ruled out.21

CONCLUSION

The above study is not a story of wealthy individuals but rather a mode of penetration into the minds of the sages, trying to understand why they made certain changes in their understanding of biblical protagonists. After discussing the rabbinic sources it becomes evident that the rabbis were contemporizing biblical figures by reshaping the past. The sages took biblical heroes as living symbols, a variety of archetypical figures, and they made them rich not through historical or literary analysis, but rather by exteriorizing some fault in the inner human behavior of their contemporaries.

This study also shows ways of making criticism that were voiced in Antiquity, when open criticism was unheard of. The rabbis did not refute richness per se, as did early Christians; rather, they continued the biblical notion that connects money with unethical behavior.22 Most of the rabbis were poor people, but nonetheless they were not impressed by the wealth of their political and religious leaders.23

1. Gedaliahu Alon, The History of the Jews in The Land of Israel in the Mishnah and Talmud Period (Tel-Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuchad, 1970), II, 145-148 (Hebrew). 12
Gildas Hamel, Poverty and Charity in Roman Palestine (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Ben-Zion Rosenfeld, 'The poor as a stratum of Jewish society in Roman Palestine 70-250 CE: an analysis', Historia (Stuttgart) 60:3 (2011): 273-300.

2. Eliezer Margalioth, Hachayavim Bamikra uzakaim Batalmud ubamidrashim (The Guilty in the Bible and Innocent in the Talmud and Midrashim); (London: Ararat, 1949) (Hebrew).

3. Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1942) III, 286-303.

4. Kasher initiated a series of tens of volumes, Torah Shlema, with the same goal as that of Torah Temima, though with deeper and broader scholarship. However, Kasher's books are (and continue to be) used only by learned people, while Torah Temima, probably because it is so ‘user friendly’, became popular among many Orthodox Jews (but not among the ultra- Orthodox).

5. Adolf Büchler, The Political and the Social Leaders of the Jewish Community of Sepphoris in the Second and Third Centuries, (Oxford: University Press, 1909 [Hebrew translation, Jerusalem, 1968], 33-34).

6. Moshe Beer, The Sages of the Mishnah and the Talmud: Teaching, Activities and Leadership, (Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2011) (Hebrew). In this book there is a study dedicated to: 'The Revolt of Korah and its Causes in Rabbinic Legend' (397-421), though Beer does not stress the idea of a heretic Jew, as emerges from these legends.

7. These 'external books' (=sefarim Hitsoniyim) are not far from 'sifrei Minin', books of heretics as already been stated in b. San. 100b. Such books were with Elisha ben Abuya, the famous apostate, when he left the rabbinic world. See: b. Hag. 15b.

8. This is, of course, a mocking question, which was formulated due to the command to insert a thread of tchelet that appears in the former chapter (Num. 15).

9. It should be noted that in medieval times and later, Epicurus came to represent the ultimate atheist. However, the historical Epicurus believed in the existence of gods, though he thought that the world functions automatically and there is no divine commandment (or: God doesn't want anything from Man).

10. Adolf Büchler, Studies in Jewish History (London; New York; Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1956), 245-74.

11. Martin Goodman, Judaism in the Roman World: Collected Essays (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2007), 163-73. 13

12. For a dispute between R. Simlai and an Epikurean Jew concerning the number of gods that created the world see Yalkut Shimoni, Bereshit 14; Saul Lieberman, Tosephta Kipshuta, V, Moed (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1962), 1219 (Hebrew).

13. Goodman (supra, 172), came to this conclusion: 'I suggest that the concept of minuth may have stemmed originally not from the practical need to deal with heretics but from a theoretical consideration of the impact on rabbinic thought of a category of Jews… It was much easier in practice to avoid heretics, and that is precisely what the tannaim tried to do'. However, taking into consideration the dialogue of Korah, according the interpretation stated above, together with a large amount of evidence collected by Büchler (ignored by Goodman), it becomes clear that one cannot accept this hypothesis.

14. Korah's arrogance and richness penetrated the Quran (28) through Muhamad's Jewish comrades. See: Haim Schwarzbaum, Mimqor Israel weIshmael (Tel Aviv: Don, 1975), 85-93 (Hebrew).

15. ש עליהון קרח ית כל כנישתא לתרע משכן זמנא ואתנטל בעותריה דאשכח תרין אוצרין מן אוצרוי 15 דיוסף מליין כסף ודהב ובעא למטרד בההוא עותרא ית משה וית אהרן מן עלמא אילולי דאתגלי :איקרא דיי לכל כנישתא

16. Beer, The Sages of the Mishnah and the Talmud, 344-61 (Hebrew).

17. The Talmud of the Land of Israel, vol. 15, Sheqalim, (J. Neusner, trans.; Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1991), 106-107. Compare: b. Kidushin 33b; Tanhuma – Buber, Exod. Piqudei, 4.

18. In the aforementioned study of Beer there are more sources and one may assume that already in the 2nd century there were traditions concerning the wealth of Moses. On the other hand, there are sources in Midrash Tanhuma, which is considered to be a later midrash. For the sake of this study there is no need to discuss all the sources here.

19. For example: b. Shabbat 4b; ibid 18a; ibid 74a, etc.

20. Gedaliahu Alon, The History of the Jews in The Land of Israel in the Mishnah and Talmud Period (Tel-Aviv: Hakibutz Hameuchad, 1970), II, 132-38 (Hebrew).

21. Beer was of the opinion that with the exception of R. Judah the Patriarch there were other Jewish leaders who were criticized by the darshanim with the help of the name of Moses. However, it seems that only R. Judah the Patriarch had similarities with Moses (and Korah became rich disregarding any similarity with Moses, as already stated above).

22. Exod. 23:8; Deut. 16:19; Ecc. 5:12.

23. Mishnah Abot 4:1; ibid. 6:9.