Meir Tzvi Berman

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Parsha Shemini


Vayomer Moshe El Aharon K'rav El Ha'mizbayach…
And Moshe said to Aharon, approach the Mizbayach (Altar).

Rashi: Why are you embarrassed? It is for this that you were chosen.

Ramban: Aharon was embarrassed to approach the Altar. You may recall that Aharon had a role in the sin of the Golden Calf. As Aharon now drew near the Altar, the shape of its top with its four upward projections seemed to appear to him like the horns of a calf, giving him thoughts of unworthiness.

The purpose of the ceremony that Aharon was about to do was to atone for the sin of the golden calf. A heavenly fire was to light the fire of the Altar and signal the atonement and Aharon was chosen to lead the ceremony.

He was understandably ashamed to take the lead role, since the shape of the Altar reminded all of the part he had played in the construction of the golden calf. He believed this should render him unfit to serve.

However, Moshe told him to approach the Altar. He had a different perspective.

Moshe was greater than Aharon and yet Hashem (G-d) chose Aharon to lead the ceremony. Why? If Moshe had been the leader and the heavenly fire lit the Altar's fire, then people would think that Moshe's dissociation with the sin of the golden calf was the reason he had been answered. It was the wish of Hashem to show the Jewish People that He had completely forgiven themfor this sin. Therefore, someone involved with the sin had to be the one to lead it.

With this we can possibly understand what Rashi meant when he wrote, 'It is for this that you (Aharon) were chosen.'

K'sav Sofer

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