Parshas Acharei 5757 - '97
Outline # 33
by Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
This issue is dedicated to the Garfunkel family of Savannah, Georgia,
whose love of Torah, true to the family tradition, continually expands and
Death and Reproof
"Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons, when they
came close before Hashem... `Speak to Aharon your brother... he should not
come any time to the Holy... that he might not die... because in the cloud
I appear on the Ark-cover...' "
The Noam M'gadim explains a hidden relationship between this parsha and
parshas B'ha'aloscha. (Bamidbar beginning of chapter 12) There, Aharon and
Miriam challenge Moshe's authority. The Torah describes Moshe's extreme humility,
and G-d Himself defends Moshe.
"When you will have prophets, I will appear to them in a vision or dream...
not so Moshe -- mouth to mouth I speak with him... Why were you not afraid
to speak against My servant?" (Bamidbar 12:6-8)
We wrote about Moshe's humility last year, in parshas B'ha'aloscha --
that Moshe did not even answer the personal challenge. The Noam M'gadim,
however, points out an additional angle. Aharon and Miriam were comparing
themselves to the greatness of Moshe: "Does Hashem speak only with Moshe?
He speaks with us as well..." (Bamidbar 12:2) Their behavior, in comparing
themselves with the greatest prophet, is in stark contrast with Moshe, who
offers no comparisons.
The praise of Moshe is that he saw himself as unworthy; they, however,
saw themselves as worthy. Hashem answered that Moshe was the greatest prophet
because -- as illustrated by the same incident -- other prophets could not
match Moshe's humility.
Hashem fulfills the degree of the Tzadik (exceptionally righteous person).
Moshe realized that Aharon and his family were endangered because Aharon
had allowed the Jews to build the Golden Calf. Moshe therefore davened on
their behalf -- but to his dismay, only part of his prayer was answered.
Two of Aharon's sons died. Moshe felt that he was not the type of Tzadik
who could make decrees for G-d. Hashem's response: No, indeed you are beloved;
but Aharon's sons have died for another reason... because they came close
" `Tell Aharon that he may not enter the Holy whenever he so desires;
in the cloud I appear on the Ark-cover...' " The Hebrew for `cloud' is
`anon.' The Hebrew for `humble' is `anov.' I only appear to the humble. This
was a reproof for Aharon and his family that they not try to compare themselves
with Moshe, which is a haughty manner; it is only through Moshe's humility
that he became so great!
The Chodshei Hashanah Series continues next week with another look at
the days of the Omer and the Jewish calendar system.
Rabbi Yaakov Bernstein
1 Babbin Court
Spring Valley, NY 10977