Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Korach - 5777
The Mishnah in Avot states; "Any controversy that is for the sake of heaven will in the end be of permanent value. However, a controversy not for the sake of heaven will not endure. Which controversy was one that was for the sake of heaven? The argument between Hillel and Shammai. Which controversy was not for the sake of heaven? The argument of Korach and his company."
A careful reading of the Mishnah implies that even within the Korach camp, there was division. Unity, when comprised of people driven by negative vices, does not endure. On the other hand, a dispute of two parties, where positions are taken with the intention of understanding the meaning of the Torah, produces unity, not just among themselves, but even with the party they disagree with. Hillel and Shammai, by arguing with the sole intention of trying to find out the proper way of serving Hashem, merited becoming an integral part of the Oral Torah for eternity.