YUTORAH IN PRINT • A PROJECT OF YESHIVA UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE JEWISH FUTURE
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Rabbi Josh Hoﬀman
Tere, God repeaedly overrules Moshe’s objecions concerning his elecion o leadership, unil, ﬁnally, he orah saes: “And he anger o God was kindled agains Moshe and He said: ‘Is here no Aharon your broher, he Levi? I know ha he will gladly speak…. He shall speak or you o he people…”Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, noing God’s anger and he sudden inroducion o Aharon, explains ha a his poin Moshe loses an honored opporuniy. Moshe was originally desined o be no only Moshe Rabbeinu, he lawgiver, eacher and poliical leader o he Israelies, he was o be he Kohen Gadol, as well. Due o Moshe’s coninued relucance a he burning bush, however, God relieves him o ha honor and besows i upon his broher, Aharon.o mark his los opporuniy, Moshe’s name is omited rom Parsha ezave, he parsha ha inroduces he concep o he kehuna (prieshood).
As inriguing as he Midrashic explanaions or Moshe’s “absence” in Parsha ezave may be, a much simpler, ye equally powerul, psha explanaion can be oﬀered.Parsha ezave is “Aharon’s parsha,” he secion o biblical ex which inroduces he glorious role ha Aharon and his descendans will assume across he ages. In recogniion o he ac ha his is his broher’s “momen,” Moshe is orced o ake a sep back ou o he limeligh. Moshe is cerainly presen, playing an essenial role in he proceedings. Aharon, however, is cener sage.Even Moshe, he greaes leader our people has known, mus a imes sep aside, o allow ohers o shine.
arshas ezaveh deals primarily wih he making o he priesly vesmens o be used in he divine service o he mishkan, or he abernacle. However, he parsha begins wih God’s command o Moshe o ell he people o provide pure olive oil o be used by his broher Aharon in he daily lighing o he menorah, whose consrucion was described in las week’s parsha, erumah. Tis command concerning he menorah, in ac, seems o be ou o place in his parsha, and should, one would hink, have been included eiher in a laer parsha ha deals wih he acual service done by he kohanim in he mishkan, or in he previous parsha, which presened us wih he deails o he consrucion o he menorah. Why, hen, is i placed here, immediaely beore he secion on he priesly garmens? Apparenly here is some connecion beween hese wo secions which he orah wans us o noice and undersand. Wha, hen, is ha connecion? Rabbi Naphali zvi Yehudah Berlin, he Neziv, in his commenary Ha’amek Davar, posis an ineresing dualiy beween Moshe and Aharon ha can help answer he quesions we have presened. He noes ha he menorah is used by he rabbis as a symbol or orah. Why, however, was such a symbol necessary? Te aron, which is called he ark o esimony, conained he ables wih he orah engraved upon i, which is seemingly he sronges allusion o orah conceivable. Why, hen, was here a need or he menorah o symbolize orah as well? Te Neziv says ha here are wo aspecs o orah learning - ha o analysis, plumbing ino he dephs o orah and presening innovaive explanaions o i, and ha o reaching halachic conclusions hrough comparing various maters o each oher. Moshe and Aharon, says he Neziv, were endowed wih diﬀeren srenghs in heir orah learning. Moshe had a special experise in undersanding he dephs o orah, or is ‘pilpul,’ as he Neziv pus i. Aharon’s srengh, on he oher hand, was in being able o decide he halacha, a skill ha, he rabbis say, requires special divine aid. Alhough Moshe also able o decide halacha, as winess his judging o he people as recorded in parshas Yisro, Aharon surpassed him in his area. Te rabbis in ac ell us, in Avos d’Rabbi Nasan, ha Moshe and Aharon were he wo heads o he Sanhedrin, he highes cour o Jewish law, and he halacha issued rom he wo o hem working ogeher.Te dual symbolism or orah o he aron and he menorah, hen, represen he wo senghs wihin orah ha Moshe and Aharon possessed. Te Neziv wries, based on a almudic passage, ha he menorah symbolizes he inensiy o in-deph orah sudy. For his reason, Moshe is commanded, in he begining o our parsha, o direc Aharon in lighing he menorah, since Moshe had a special role o play in he deeper meaning o he menorah. Te menorah, hen, according o he Neziv, symbolizes Moshe’s area o experise wihin orah, while he aron symbolizes Aharon’s srengh. Perhaps, as a