Project Genesis

Jewish Texts

The Chumash (Five Books of Moses)

Portions Named after Korach and Balak

Question: Why is a Parsha (Weekly Torah Portion) named after Korach and Balak? Wouldn’t Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob be more appropriate?

Answer: Unfortunately I do not know the particulars about the naming of the different portions. It seems that the name of each parsha is a word found among the first few words of that particular parsha. There are sources that imply that the contents of the parsha revolves around the name of the parsha. So in the cases that the parsha is a name of a non-Jew or an evil person it is because the events of that section revolve around that non-Jew or evil person. As you point out there are no sections named after our forefathers. However, there are sections named after events in their lives. For example, Parshas Lech Lecha is referring to Avraham’s sojourn to a foreign land (no one parsha encapsulates the entire essence, or series of events of any particular forefather).

Yochai Robkin
Project Genesis

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