There is a Midrash that at Aharon HaKohen’s funeral procession he was accompanied by 80,000 young men. There was a curious fact about all of these young men – they were all called Aharon. They were, in fact referred to as the Aharonim. Why were there so many young men named after Aharon during his lifetime?
Aharon was famous for bringing peace between married couples that were going through a difficult time. He had a unique method of bringing shalom between husband and wife. He understood that each party was besides themselves about how their spouse so inconsiderately caused them pain and shows no remorse. He realized that their pain needed validation. So he would meet with one of the pair and would tell them that their spouse was beside themselves with anguish at the pain they had caused you, and that he/she wanted to make amends. Then he went to the other and told them exactly the same thing! The result was a couple coming back together and moving forward.
These reconciled couples went on to have children and named the first son after the man responsible for their renewed relationship – Aharon.
Just do the math! Aharon lived for 40,000 days – He must have successfully practiced his method several times a week in order for 80,000 children to be born!
There is one problem however. In order for this method to work, Aharon had to lie. In fact, neither spouse had expressed anguish about pain they had caused.
However was Aharon was an – ohev shalom v’rodeo shalom. He was obsessed with peace. When it came to a conflict between truth and shalom, he prioritized peace.
Moshe had a different path – for him truth always reigned supreme.
Should we take the Moshe path or the Aharon path?
Hiller the elder astoundingly brought this concept to practice when he stated: “You should be from the students of Aharon; love peace and pursue peace”. The value of peace, it seems, stood higher then the ethic of truth.
Not only Aharon. The Talmud explains says (regarding the Sota procedure) that for the sake of Shalom between husband and wife even the name of Hashem, written on a parchment, can be obliterated.
Both Moshe and Aharon with their respective characters , reflected in the sefiros, were essential for the development of the Jewish people. But, as Rashi comments, the the mourning was more widespread for Aharon than for Moshe due to his involvement in bringing shalom throughout the people.
On a similar note the Ozorover Rebbe once encountered Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, the great posek hador, at a summer resort in Switzerland. Rav Chaim Ozer said he had heard that the Ozorover was a “gavra rabba”, a great man, and requested that he share with him a Torah thought that he never heard before . The Ozorover initially demurred and wondered aloud how he could possibly say something novel to Rav Chaim Ozer, to whom the whole Torah was known. However he relented and said that the term ‘gavra rabba’, which Rav Chaim Ozer had used about him, referred specifically to someone who helps other people and relieves their suffering. On encountering some surprise as to his understanding of the term, The Ozorover presented his proof from the Talmud in Makos. There it states that there are ‘foolish people in Bavel who stand before a sefer Torah but not before a ‘gavra rabba’ (referring to a talmid chacham).’ The Talmud goes on to say that the greatness of Torah scholars is evident in the fact that, in establishing the number of lashes to be received by transgressors, they reduce the number from 40, as explicitly stated in the Torah, to 39.
However, asked the Rebbe,why does the Torah use this particular example to prove greatness in torah? Why didn’t they point to an earlier comment which was similar. They could have inferred the same from our earlier parsha, Emor, where the Torah says to count 50 days from the second day of Pesach, yet Chazal established that we only count 49 days?
The Ozorover answered: the Talmud was not looking for genius. They were looking for a source in which the Drosha minimized the pain of another Jew! They were specifically impressed with the reduction in pain caused the to the recipient of lashes. If you can reduce the pain of another Jew – you are a gavra rabba. (a great man)
Truth and scholarship are of prime importance and the foundation for justice. But justice itself has it’s drawback unless it is framed in kindness.
The is so much evocation of Justice in the world. When we focus on justice alone the heavenly response is likewise and Din enters the world. We need a framework of kindness and shalom in the . We need to become a student of Aharon. We hope and pray that G-d wil respond in kind.
(Transcribed by Dr. Ben Bradley)