Parshas Chukas

This Shabbos we read Parshas Chukas.. In the Parsha we read of the death of Aaron the high priest. The Torah tells us that when Aaron passed away, kol bais yisroel – the entire Jewish people mourned for him. (Numbers 20:29) Our Sages explain that although Moses was certainly appreciated as the great tzadik – righteous person that he was, Aaron was appreciated even more by the entire Jewish people. This was due to the fact that Aaron was a person who was a peacemaker – someone who was constantly making peace between friends, and in families. Indeed, the medrash says that eighty thousand boys who were named Aaron were among those who mourned the death of Aaron. The reason these boys were all named Aaron is because each one of them came from a family that was on the verge of divorce, and Aaron made peace among the spouses, resulting in the birth of these boys.

Our Sages instruct us – Hevai mtalmidiv shel Aaaron, - we should be from the disciples of Aaron. The classic ethical work Sefer Charaidim explains that the word Hevai teaches us not only to act like Aaron if it is natural for us to be a peacemaker, but we must become a disciple of Aaron. Even if by nature we are more reserved, even if by nature we would not want to mix in, even if we hear of an argument somewhere else, even if we are busy with our studies or other obligations, nonetheless Hevai – become a disciple of Aaron and promote peace. He goes on to tell of a sage named Rav Yosef Saragusi who lived in his time (hundreds of years ago) in Israel in the city of Tzefas, and was known to make peace between people, between spouses, and even among Gentiles. This Sage was rewarded by having Elijah the prophet reveal himself to him, and ultimately had the merit to be buried in the spot that he saw Elijah.

The Chidah writes that “one must exert himself with thought, speech, and actions to promote peace between brothers and between husband and wife, with speech that is softer than butter and sweeter than honey.”

The Medrash adds that besides promoting peace, Aaron is also credited with preventing many from sin. How did he do this? The Medrash explains that when Aaron was walking, and he saw an evil or wicked person, he would go over to him and greet him. Afterwards, when this person was ready to do a sin, he would think to himself, “how can I do this sin, I am so embarrassed of Aaron who greets me so warmly.”

In his caring and warm ways, Aaron was able to promote peace and bring his fellow Jews closer to Hashem. May we merit to follow in his beautiful footsteps, and help unite all Jews under one banner of serving their Creator!!!