Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Shemini

What I Was Chosen To Do

By Rabbi Label Lam

Moshe said to Aaron, “Come near to the Alter and perform the service of your sin-offering and your burnt-offering and provide atonement for yourself and for the people; then perform the offering of the people’s offering and provide atonement for them, as HASHEM commanded.” (Vayikra 9:7)

Come near to the Alter: For Aaron was embarrassed and afraid to approach. Moshe said to him, “Why are you embarrassed? This is what you were selected for!” (Rashi)

What was Aaron suddenly embarrassed about? He was not a hidden person. He participated in many a public event. He was active during the whole 10 plagues operation in Egypt. He was a major public figure. Now suddenly he’s stricken with shyness. Why?

What does Moshe mean when he says, “This is what you were selected for!”? What is the “this”?

The Midrash indicates that Moshe needed to invite Aaron to come close to the Alter and perform his duties because of Aaron’s deep feeling of inadequacy, not psychologically. It is rather born from a true sense of disproportion. After all, who is man, a flesh and blood creature to approach G-d Almighty? Moshe encouraged his brother as the Midrash feeds these words, “Make your heart proud in the arena of serving G-d.” Don’t be so self-effacing here and now. “It was for this reason you were selected to be the High Priest.” 1) This could mean that Aaron was selected because of his excessive humility or 2) it could mean that he should take a limited license to curb that quieting instinct when it comes to doing the task for which he was especially selected.

This conversation may be equally applied to those rare occasions when some service must be performed in a public setting. I remember having to Daven one morning at an Air Port in San Diego. The flight was so early that there was no time to put on Tallis and Tefillin beforehand. Therefore I discretely did my thing right there by the gate. Between the “Shema” and “Shemona Esreh” when according to Jewish Law one is not allowed to speak out, a “final boarding call” was made. I was the only one left. I had no choice. So, regally robed in Tallis and Tefillin, I boarded. My seat was the last in the back row of packed plane. Heads turned and coffee cups dropped as I strode proudly to my seat. There I finished my prayers. I remember having to briefly overcome that sense of embarrassment but in the end I felt proud. After all, this is what I was selected for!

Not long afterwards I had to pray early in the morning in a D.C. Airport. I was able to finish, almost. It was the first day of Elul when we begin to blow the Shofar. So while walking-down that tube-way that leads to the plane I noticed there were a few people ahead and a few behind me. I worked up the courage to let loose a few raspy blasts which stunned and alarmed everyone within range. They stared with astonishment until I raised my fist and declared with certainty, “This means we’re going to have a great flight!” Smiling we strode together confidently onto the plane.

It sure felt good to overcome the initial embarrassment and hyper-concern for public opinion and to feel proud enough to do just what I was chosen to do.


DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Seeing HASHEM with Our Hearts
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

All Israel
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Look Deeper
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Eye Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Points to Ponder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

What Causes One to be Appreciative?
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

ArtScroll

A Clash of Titans
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

And So The Journey Continues
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Now I Know My Aleph-Bais
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

> What Are We Mourning on the Ninth of Av
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Who will Remember?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

That's Not What Friends Are For
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

So Much to Say
Shlomo Katz - 5761

The Purpose of the Fifth Book
Shlomo Katz - 5767



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information