Saturday, June 01, 2013

You have much, sons of Levi

Next week (well this week, starting at Mincha) we read the parsha of Korach, when Korach and a team from the tribe of Reuven challenge Moshe's leadership. They claim that the entire congregation is holy, so why should Aharon be singled out as High Priest. They accuse Moshe of nepotism, and end up digging a bit hole for themselves.

Moshe tells them not to fight him, using the words "רב לכם בני לבו" - ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.'(Bamidbar 16:7). But literally it can be read as "there is plenty for you, sons of Levi."

Here are some music videos to help you remember this concept.
First, Levi (Stubbs) who was the lead vocalist for the Four Tops

This Levi embodied selflessness insofar as the 'minhag' at the time was for the lead singer to get the headline, and have a backing band.(in contrast to other Motown acts such as  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles or Diana Ross and the Supremes). He wasn't seeking to take greater leadership upon himself.

Then Billy Bragg, reminding you that it is not easy being a Levi (Levi Stubbs' Tears)

I saw Billy Bragg live (at Victoria University) in 1986 or therabouts. It was just him and a guitar and a working class accent, but it was one of the best concerts I have ever been too (I saw him again many years later in Edinburgh with "the Blokes" and that was good, but not as great - perhaps because I was older, perhaps because he was older too).

There was a great musical called "Little Shop of Horrors" based on a film of the same name
The musical was turned into a movie, also called "Little Shop of Horrors", and the plant (named Audrey II) was voiced by Levi Stubbs. In this role, Levi used his normal baritone voice, instead of the higher tenor that he sang in the Four Tops.
Here is Audrey II looking kind of cute at the beginning of the movie (can you tell that Frank Oz directed it?)

But by the end of the movie, Audrey II tries to take over the world. And has lots and lots of little Audrey IIs

Levi Stubbs (as Audrey II) gets what is coming to him. As do the little plants.
רב לכם בני לוי

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