Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Shemini

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken


"And Moshe said to Aharon, 'Approach the Altar and perform your Sin Offering and your Elevation Offering, and offer atonement for yourself and for the people, and offer the sacrifice of the people, and atone for them, as God has commanded.'" [9:7]

Why does Moshe need to tell Aharon, "approach the Altar?" Rashi explains (from the Medrash) that Aharon was embarrassed, and was afraid to approach it. Moshe said to him, "Why are you afraid? You were chosen for this."

The Medrash says that the Altar "looked like the Golden Calf" to Aharon, which is what caused him to be afraid.

The Minchah Belulah explains: as we all know, our minds play tricks on us, causing us to "see" things which are not really there. What our minds cause us to perceive are things which are in our minds in any case, in our subconscious and conscious thoughts. What was constantly on Aharon's mind? The Golden Calf. He remembered his sin constantly.

What was his sin? He made the Calf. But the Medrash explains to us that Aharon witnessed the murder of his nephew Chur, when the latter rebuked the nation for contemplating a premature replacement for Moshe. Aharon realized if they killed him, the Kohen, as well, the sin would be unbearable. "Better," he said, "that the sin be on my shoulders." [Rashi to Exodus 32:5] By our standards, his "sin" was small indeed.

Yet he recalled it constantly. He fulfilled the verse in Psalms [51:5] "And my sins are before me always." Even when he looked upon the Golden Altar, he was reminded of the Golden Calf.

This, says the Minchah Belulah, is why Moshe said "You were chosen _for_ this_." For this very reason, that you constantly recall your sin, and are embarrassed for it, this is why you were chosen to be the Kohen Gadol.

The Evil Inclination uses many different methods to thwart people who want to come closer to G-d. One favorite is to cause a person to think of all his sins, and cause him to think that he's worthless, and not worthy of attempting to come close.

Moshe taught his brother, being concerned about your past behavior is a _good_ thing. It means that you really care about the bad things which you have done. One can only become a "bad person" by imagining that his evil is good, by thinking that his behavior is acceptable. So don't let your thoughts drag you down, he said. They aren't a reason to turn back -- through your regret, you are worthy of coming close!


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Delight Amidst Devastation
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Communication Brings Unity
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Never Underestimate the Power of Prayer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Worlds Apart
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5764

The World is a Symphony
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

In Man's Diminished Image
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

> Maybe
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Tire of Babel
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Noach Did Not Become Wicked, He Just Became Plain
- 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Out of the Darkness
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Beshegam Hu Moshe?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Too Perfect
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

ArtScroll

Leisure Time
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Not Better or Worse, Just Different
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Who By Fire, Who By Water
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766



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