Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Parshat Chukat – Part II

In our parsha we have the deaths of both Miriam and of Aharon. There is an interesting statement in regards to Aharon that is not found with the death of Miriam. When Aharon dies- it states that the entire assembly of Israel wept and mourned for thirty days. However, the first thing that is mentioned after the death of Miriam, is the people complaining about water. Undoubtedly they would have mourned for her- but it would seem that the grief they felt at the death of Miriam was muted in comparisaon to that at the death of Aharon!

Why was there such sadness at the death of Aharon? Why did his death have such a huge effect on the entire nation? There is comment in the Talmud that we should be like Aharon- to love peace and to chase after peace. How did Aharon exemplify this trait of peace, a trait of Hashem himself? In the parsha dealing with the sotah, we learn that G-d is so concerned about shalom bayis (peace in the home- i.e. relationship between the husband of wife) that it is the name of G-d that is erased as the final step of the process to determine her innocence or guilt.

In a similar vein, Aharon took great care to men relationships between people- particularly between husband and wife. He, personally, regardless of the importance of his position and the indignity of the role, would make sure to visit both sides of the conflict- speak soothing words and encourage them to come together and resolve their differences. Like G-d with the sotah, Aharon involved himself in creating shalom bayis, creating peace in the home and thus strengthening the overall nation.

It was this attribute of his- that he was so involved with ensuring happiness in the home and harmonious relationships he was beloved by the entire nation and thus the grieving over his death was very pronounced, far more so than with Miriam who, while loved by many (especially the women for whom she was a leader)

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , | 2 Comments