By Rabbi Dovid
"Now you should
command the children of that they shall take for you pure, pressed
oil for illumination to kindle the lamp continually. "(Exodus
27:20) With this HaShem tells Moshe to have the Jews bring oil in
preparation for use in the Menorah.
The commentators note
that there are seemingly superfluous words in this verse. Firstly,
Moshe was the sole participant in this dialogue with HaShem so why
the necessity of saying "Now You shall command .
. . "? Would it not have sufficed to simply say, "Command
the children of Israel." as is stated, "Command Aharon
and his sons saying (Leviticus 6:2) ? Secondly, what is meant by
"they shall take for you" , This oil was to be brought
for service in the Mishkan, a service that would be performed by
Aharon in his role as Kohein, not by Moshe. In what way then was
the oil to be taken for Moshe?
Similarly we find in
Exodus 28:1, "Bring near to yourself Aharon your brother
and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel."
HaShem in this verse is telling Moshe to begin the process of sanctifying
Aharon and his sons as Kohanim, first by having their priestly garments
made, and culminating in their actual sanctification through anointing
with oil. Once again the word "yourself" seems superfluous.
Reb Chaim Shmuelevitz
Zt"l in Sichas Mussar (vol. 2:Discourse 23) cites
Psalms 123:1-2, "Behold how good and how pleasant is the dwelling
of brothers moreover in unity. Like the precious oil upon the head
running down upon the beard, the beard of Aharon running down over
his garments." This is an allusion to the aforementioned anointment
of Aharon as Kohein Gadol which was done by having oil poured on
his head and which then flowed down his face onto his clothes. The
medrash notes that the reason the words "the beard" is
used twice is to tell us that when Moshe saw the oil flowing through
his brother, Aharon's, beard, the joy he felt was as great as if
it had been he who had been anointed. Although, it would have been
natural for Moshe to feel a twinge of jealousy over the fact that
Aharon and not he had been chosen Kohein Gadol, the bond and unity
between them was such that there was no room for such emotion. This
then is the deeper meaning behind the beginning of the verse, "The
dwelling of brothers, moreover in unity."
This point is brought
home further by an earlier verse, "And the anger of Hashem
burned against Moshe and He said, "Is there not Aharon your
brother, the Levite etc." (Exodus 4:14). This was in response
to Moshe's request that Aharon and not he approach Pharaoh to release
the Jews. Rashi on this verse cites the Gemarah
(Zevachim 102a) R' Yehoshua
ben Karchah says, "Every time the burning of HaShem's anger
is mentioned in the Torah a lasting mark is mentioned with regards
to it. However, this burning anger has no lasting mark mentioned
with regard to it, and we do not find any punishment as a result
of that burning anger."
R' Yose replied o him,
"A mark is mentioned with regard to this too,
(as alluded to by the end of the verse) "Is there not Aharon,
your brother the Levite." For he, (Aharon) had been destined
to be the Levite not a Kohein for I had intended that the Kehunah
would come from you (Moshe). Now it will not be so, rather he will
be the Kohein and you the Levite."
R' Chaim Schmuelevitz
comments (ibid.) that on one level R' Yehoshua ben Karcha and R'
Yose are not really arguing. Indeed, Moshe lost the Kehunah to Aharon,
yet still when Aharon was anointed Moshe rejoiced as if it were
he. Indeed from Moshe's perspective there was as R' Yehoshua ben
Karcha says, no lasting mark and no punishment. Such was the level
of unity that Moshe felt with Aharon specifically, and with all
the Jews collectively.
This then is why the
Torah specifically says, "Now you shall command"
Moshe was being told to demonstrate to the Jews that he harbored
no jealousy toward Aharon for the fact that he would be performing
the services in the Mishkan. This too, says R' Chaim is why the
Torah says that "They shall take for you." Although the
services were to physically be performed by Aharon, in Moshe's eyes
it was as if he himself was the one performing them.
It may indeed be that
this tremendous bond that Moshe felt for others was, in part, what
enabled Moshe to be the only one of the Jews to be able to withstand
hearing the Torah directly from HaShem. For this is one of the three
traits which the Ohr HaChaim HaKodesh (Exodus 19:2) lists as prerequisites
to the accepting of the Torah, the other two are humility and a
willingness to toil for growth in Torah. It follows that ones level
of Torah acquisition will be proportionate to the level at which
he exhibits these traits. It is therefore fitting that Moshe who
exemplified perfection in his feeling of unity with the other Jews
(in addition to being the most humble of men Numbers 12:3)
was worthy to hear the Torah directly from HaShem himself.
Although we cannot approach
the level of Moshe, it is important to keep in mind the fact that
as Jews we are all one. When a fellow Jew rejoices it should be
as ours. When a fellow Jew is in need of assistance, their need
should be our own. And so too should we feel the pain of our fellow
Jew as acutely as our own. Through this we will merit what it says
in the Gemarah, "One who joins I the anguish of fellow Jews
will merit to see the consolation of the Jewish People(upon the
arrival of Moshiach) (Taanis 11a).
Published and İFebruary
20, 1997 by the Chicago Community Kollel