Parashat Masei

Aaaron's Peace

Aaaron the priest ascended Mount Hor at the command of G-d and died there (Numbers 33:38)

This week we will read about the death of Aaaron.

Aaaron is a strange personality within the Torah. Many times, he seems to have an inexplainable passivity. We would have expected for a different attitude in the episode of the golden calf or a greater commitment in circumstances where the leadership of Moses was in doubt.

However, the people of Israel felt Aaaron's death much than Moses' decease. Aaaron was loved by Israel because he was much more than Moses's brother: he was the brother of Israel. As it is suggested in Pirkei Avot (1, 13): "Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures and bringing them close to the Torah.".

Nobody can sympathize with such passivity. Passivity exasperates many people and indifference makes them angry as well. But Aaaron was not passive. He was a consensus searcher and was the only one in that generation who could live in peace during forty years in the desert.

When the people fought with the phantoms of the past and with the fears of the future, Aaaron not only that could live peacefully but also knew how to pursue the peace for others.

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest…perfect peace.

The king chose the second picture. He said: "Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

That was the meaning of Aaaron's peace.

Weekly Torah Portion