Vol 17.14 - Shemini 3                                            Spanish French Audio  Video

Hebrew Text:

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Rashi (10:20) "and it pleased him" (and the reason that he does not explain it as he does in Parshat Mattot (31:21) is because Moses came to a state of anger, and he came to err). It also discusses the difference between the reasoning of Moshe and the reasoning of Aharon. (the difference between temporary and eternal offerings) According to Chassidus. 
Eleazar the kohen: Since Moses came to a state of anger, he came to err, for the laws of purging gentile vessels eluded him. A similar incident happened on the eighth day of the investitures of the kohanim, as it says, “He Moses became angry with Eleazar and Ithamar” (Lev. 10: 16); he came to a state of anger, so he came to err. Similarly, in the episode of “Now listen, you rebels… and struck the rock” (20:10-11); through anger, he came to err. — Sifrei Mattoth 48


Two Brothers - Two Worlds
The Torah portion of Shemini relates1 how Aharon’s elder sons, Nadav and Avihu, were consumed by a heavenly fire when they brought an unauthorized offering on the Altar. As a result, Aharon’s remaining sons, as well as Aharon himself, felt it was improper to eat the sin offering presented at that time. This sacrifice is also brought every Rosh Chodesh. They did, however, eat the special one-time sin offerings.

When Moshe discovered their abstention “He was angry with Aharon’s surviving sons….” and said to them: ““Why did you not eat the Rosh Chodesh sin offering…?” Aharon explained that since this was a regular offering and such a terrible tragedy had befallen them that day, it would have been inappropriate for them to eat it. “When Moshe heard this, he approved.”

Moshe understood that there was no difference between regular and one-time offerings, while Aharon and his two surviving sons felt that there was.

Why did they differ?

Furthermore, since Moshe originally maintained that no difference existed between regular and one-time offerings, what caused him to change his mind when he heard Aharon’s response; seemingly Aharon supplied no innovative reasoning?

The difference between Moshe and Aharon is expressed by our Sages thusly:2 “Kindness — that is Aharon… Truth — that is Moshe.” Truth is not subject to change — at all times and in all places it remains the same.3 Kindness, however, must consider the circumstances of the recipient. Since no two people and no two circumstances are ever entirely alike, it follows that there are differences in the beneficence radiated by the attribute of kindness.

Moshe’s logic, resulting as it did from the viewpoint of Truth, dictated that whenever an issue was in doubt, there should be no change from one time and circumstance to the other. He therefore saw no difference between regular and one-time offerings.

Aharon’s trait of kindness resulted in his being “…a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, a lover of creatures, a person who drew them close to the Torah.”4 I.e., Aharon’s devotion to his fellow Jew was such that he dedicated himself even to those individual who could only be described as “creatures.” Aharon saw to it that even such people should have their needs met according to their level and status.

He therefore said there was a difference between “sacred one-time offerings” and “sacred regular offerings.” From the perspective of the beneficiaries who are in need of the kindness resulting from a sacred offering, it is impossible to expect that sanctity will come in the same manner and degree for all people at all times.

Moshe, however, influenced the Jewish people by causing holiness to descend upon them from Above, so that it was felt below with the same intensity with which it was felt Above.5 Relating to the Jewish people in this manner caused him to feel that the same degree of sanctity could be showered upon all Jews at all times and in all places.

Aharon then explained to Moshe that while Moshe’s intentions were surely the best and the noblest, Jews in this physical world differ from each other, as do their spiritual levels; it would prove nigh impossible for them to all be permeated with the same degree of sanctity.

When Moshe perceived Aharon’s reasoning he readily agreed.


Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XVII pp. 113-114.


1. Vayikra Ch. 10; See alo commentary of Rashi.
2. Shmos Rabbah 5:10.
3. See Tanya Ch. 13; Likkutei Torah, Masei 93b, et al.
4. Avos 1:12.
5. Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar 2d and onward, et al.


16 He discovered that it had been burned up: Moses’ and Aaron’s reasonings with regard to the difference between the special sacrifices of the day and those that would be offered up on a regular basis reflect their respective visions of humanity’s relationship with G-d. As we saw above,15 Moses’ life was devoted to transmitting G-d’s Torah to the people, whereas Aaron’s life was devoted to elevating the people to the Torah. If we imagine the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people as a marriage, it is Moses who escorts the Heavenly Groom to the canopy and Aaron who escorts the earthly bride.

The Torah is objective and unchanging truth, whereas human beings are subjective and constantly changing. Therefore, Moses sees the Torah’s truth as being uniformly applicable in all situations, in contradistinction to Aaron, who realizes that each situation must be assessed individually in order to know how to apply the Torah’s immutable truth effectively. Aaron sees that an ad hoc sacrifice is different than a permanent one, that G-d’s truth can be reflected differently on different levels.

In our own lives, we must evince both Moses’ and Aaron’s perspectives. For ourselves, we must aspire to be like Moses, devoted to the Torah’s truth absolutely and unchangingly. But when dealing with others, we must take into account their moods and inclinations, and draw them to the Torah with forgiving love, as did Aaron.16

.15.    On 9:1.
16.    Likutei Sichot, vol. 17, pp. 113-116.




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