Once, when Reb Zusya was visiting Rebbe Shmelke of Nikolsburg, he asked the latter to learn with him. Rebbe Shmelke replied, “If you teach me something from the secret wisdom I will teach you something from the revealed wisdom.” Reb Zusya agreed and, in his characteristically holy and humble way, asked Rebbe Shmelke to teach him a mishna word by word, and to translate it into Yiddish for him. Shmelke began with Berachot: me’eimatai korin et hashema, and translated for him, “From when do we say the Shema?” Suddenly Reb Zusya threw himself to the ground in fear and trembling and said to the holy rabbi, “How do you know that me’eimatai means ‘from when’? Maybe it is from the word eimah, fear! ‘From my fear’ of God I should say the Shema!” (1) At which Rebbe Shmelke said, “You be the teacher!”
Rabbi Moshe, son of Israel of Kozhnitz, explains: This is how we can understand the fact that, when Korach mentioned God’s name, Moses threw himself to the ground in fear of God, to show them that one must mention God’s name in fear and trembling, and not out of discord or lightmindedness or hubris.
1) Me— from or out of, emah— awe or fear, tai— my