In Honor of Aaron’s Passing

Click here for Hebrew text. (Below is a word-for-word translation.)

Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av in honor of the passing of the Tzaddik Aaron, attendant to the regal bride, Aaron the Priest – invited guest for the Sefirah Hod!

For in his life, Aaron offered many offerings, and always, with their bringing of an offering, when he heard the verbal confessions of the baalei teshuvah, he emphasized the phrase, (Leviticus 1:2), “when a person brings an offering it is of you“, that, in truth, it was the sinner’s job to offer up himself for sins in error [שוגג], while for sins done intentionally [מזיד] they, [the sinners], are punished.

And behold, this was always Aaron’s way:  (Mishnah Avot 1:12), “A lover of peace, a pursuer of peace”. And when one came and said that he sinned to Hashem, Aaron asked him, “In error or intentionally?” And, if he answered Aaron that he sinned intentionally then, Aaron the priest said, “God forbid my dear! Intentionally? Do you, God forbid, know your Master and intend to rebel against Him? Do you truly know your Master? Come with me my dear: ‘Of the majesty of the glory of Your Hod / splendor and words of Your wonders I shall speak,’ (Psalms 145:5)”. And whenever Aaron spoke with a Baal Teshuvah, he saw that in truth, it hadn’t been intentional and in truth, as regards the sinner’s innermost will and his mind, Aaron was extremely brief. And so, [he would conclude], it had been an error and, it was proper to bring an offering so that he could be forgiven by God.

Which was not so with Moshe in the case of the one who gathered sticks on Shabbos, etc., (Numbers 15:32). Moshe who was attendant to the actual Queen, saw the intentional sinner, that there was, even in one who sins by mistake, (for he dismisses the will of the king), a rebellion, even if it were a case of being drawn toward a desire, for regarding Moses, fear of God is a small matter (Berachot 33b).

And Aaron, who dealt with a calf (Exodus 32:4), always wanted to find some opportunity to atone for Israel and also wanted some remedy for weeping for future generations. So when his time came to depart, he asked of Hashem that he and his sons could be absolved even from shedding blood by association with the one’s he would atone for in his death, i.e., those banished to the cities of refuge for having killed inadvertently. So he handed over his soul on Rosh Chodesh menachem Av in order to atone for klal yisrael and over its inadvertent errors. And to lessen the desolation that God’s fury would pour forth regarding wood and stones (Makkot 24).

And why did he go to the trouble of making the calf, in the form of an ox eating grass? Because, he thought that when they saw the calf, there would be laughter, jesting and scoffing – and all scoffing is forbidden except for scoffing of idol worship – and the brutishness in their demand and their request would be clear to them and, they would be ashamed and would go home full of shame. But when human beings are dealing with a misplaced faith then the spirit feels hidden from them. And Aaron the priest, who advocated for every person, did not anticipate for himself that in seriousness it would rise up in the mind of the people that in truth, (Exodus 32:4) “These are your gods, O Israel.”

Therefore, when he died, Aaron the priest, the high priest for generations, redeemed from the cities of refuge, the ones who killed unintentionally to return to inclusion among the rest of the children of Israel as it is written (Leviticus 16:6), “And he atoned for himself and for his household and for the entire congregation of Israel,” in that, according to his thought, it was unintentional and his death was atoning for him and for the children of Israel.

Furthermore, and in conclusion of this subject: (Proverbs 1:8) “Hearken, my son, to the discipline of your father” – (Deut 8:5) “that just as a man chastises his son, so does YHVH, your God, chastise you.” – thus is the Torah in outside the Land – “and do not forsake the instruction of your mother;” Torah in the Holy Land. And whoever comes to be in the Land, even for a short time, discovers that (Joshua 1:3) “Every place on which the soles of your feet will tread I have given to you” – it will become one’s own [Yiddish].

In addition – “Hearken my son to the discipline of your father” – “that just as a man chastises his son, so does YHVH, your God, chastise you” – Moshe Rabbeinu was attendant to the queen (Zohar III 20), and his words are like words of the father and its call for discipline, and the sinner must receive his punishment for not complying. Moshe Rabbeinu ate “food of nobles” [Manna] in a “land not sown” and didn’t taste of the fruit of the Land, or the mitzvot that depend on being in the Land, of its fruits, “your wine and your oil” which are on the level of “the instruction of your mother”, Torah of the mother who organically and vitally begets the living, (Deut 11:21), literally, “as the days of heaven on the earth”. And everyone that wants in truth to study torah at this time, Torah of life in love of Chesed needs to suckle also from the Torah of the mother which raises up children and suckles in patience. The Baal Teshuvah who studies Torah on the level of “outside the Land” – anxious Torah like Torah of father which frightens his son because there is in it some kind of punishment, doesn’t taste a taste of the Torah of your mother who comes with the priestly blessing of Aaron, attendant of the bride (ibid Holy Zohar).

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