Korach’s coup failed when all the great men planted their staffs on the ground at the Mishkan, and of all of them, it was Ahron’s staff that blossomed with almonds and flowers, showing Korach’s people they were wrong. The story concludes with how Ahron’s staff became a symbol of what had happened, and the men took their staffs back and went back home.
But why is it worth mentioning that they took their staffs back?
Rabbi Shlomo Farhi teaches that the word for staff, מטה, is the same as the word for tribe. As much as Ahron’s staff was a symbol of victory, their staffs were a symbol of defeat, but they took them home all the same. The plain staff, with nothing special or remarkable, would remind them what they were willing to sacrifice in their bid for greatness.
The symbol of their loss was still something to be proud of. It was a reality check, but they could still take pride in second place. By owning it, they could resume their place in the hierarchy they had once rejected.
A person who never makes a mistake has never tried anything. Mistakes can often be as good a teacher as success.