“Kaleidoscope – a tube shaped optical instrument that is rotated to produce a succession of symmetrical designs by bits of colored glass at one end of the tube.” So reads the definition of what to many children is an amazing plaything. I am sure every reader has experienced the wonder of looking through a kaleidoscope and being flabbergasted at the changing designs that tumble together as you turn the tube. The colors are wondrous, and no two images are ever the same. Each angle throws up another aspect of beauty, and it seems that the combinations are limitless.
Every family is like that tube of multi-colored glass bits. We are a group of distinct gems that come together and we have it in us to create astoundingly breathtaking images. If, however, one or two of the gems are out of synch with the others, then the entire enterprise is at risk. Nothing looks as it should; there is no design, no balance, and the whole thing is chaos. Instead of lovely images of unbelievable splendor, we see collision and anger.
In the world of today, such fractious images are sadly becoming an ever-growing problem. Children hurtle themselves against their parents as they become ever more out of kilter. What was the beauty of our families has for some become a landscape of hurt. The source of the problems, the symptoms and what are the causes is a complex matter. The secular world around us has lost its moral way. There are no borders; nothing remains sacred.
The Yiddishe home has to somehow become insulated from the chaos. But how? The old formula of isolation is often no longer an option; the young have too many opportunities to stray.
Shir Hamaalos … Hinei Matov …Sheves Achim Gam Yachad … “A Song of Ascents of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers in unity.” Certainly the goal of every Yiddishe home is for everyone to dwell in unity. The word “gam” can means “also” and Chazal teach us that if we live together in harmony, then Hashem is gam, also’ in our midst.
Kashemen Hatov Al Harosh … “Like the precious oil upon the head running down upon the beard, the beard of Aharon, running down over the hem of his garments.”
The oil that Moshe used to anoint Aharon can be said to be a metaphor for the blessings that Aharon had in such abundance. He was wise, charming and full of grace. This chein, this warmth, drew the people to him. However, this was not enough. Aharon understood that to bring the community closer to Hashem he would have to reach out to them at a mundane level as well. He could not become beloved to all the people unless he was ready and able to go into their daily lives and understand them at the emotional place where they existed. The oil of his anointment dripped down onto his beard and yes even the clothing he wore. He shined forth at every level because he realized that it is at every level that the Jews were living. Aharon was a true kiruv worker – he touched each person at the point they could relate too.
In our homes we must approach things as Aharon did. He was not only a teacher to his flock but he was the person they admired because of his understanding of their trivial needs as well.
Parents are harried and rushed, they have little time to spare and when they do they sometimes fritter it away with talk that may be turning there children away from them. Our young are living in a different world than the one we grew up in, and the Aharon in us must listen and learn to bridge any gap that all this has created. Not every child wants his father to test him on the week’s learning on Shabbos when the whole week they haven’t past two words together. Not every parent is able to test his child. Some may not have the temperament and can easily lose their temper. Is this what you want to build a home with? A child quaking at the thought of a Shabbos meal served with a temper tantrum?
Aharon is not Moshe. Chazal tell us that when Aharon passed away the entire camp of the Jewish nation mourned him. This was because he was a man who sought to create peace in a fractious world. Think for a moment. In those tents in the midbar there must have been plenty of problems. An entire generation is growing up in a desert because their parents had become embroiled with that scandalous behavior at the Golden Calf. They all had to stay waiting for their parents to die before they could go into the Promised Land. Into this community of mixed feelings came Aharon, the figure that went from place to place making shalom whenever he saw fissures growing.
We can choose to pretend that all is well in the tent of Yaakov, or we can act as Aharon and seek to bring peace amongst our own. This is a vital question that should be asked by every Yiddishe household today!
Ketal Chermon… “Like the dew of Harmon that comes down upon the mountains of Zion; for there Hashem commanded the blessing, life for evermore.”
We can overcome the darkness that this globalized world of heresy has created. How? By creating the Mountain of Harmon, the place from whence the Torah flows, in our homes and combining it with the sweetness of Aharon.
In the desert of the midbar, Hashem’s Torah created mountains of belief and love. This life-giving dew’ flowed down and created huge mountains of belief. There were times in the past when communities created a wholesome wall that kept the young safe from harm. This is not the case today; technology is such that we have to run just to stand a step in front. However, and this is the point, if the home is an “Aharondige home,” then we can talk to each other, not at each other, and in this way we can bring down Hashem’s blessing, ad ha’olam, “forevermore.”