Shemini 5777 – For This You Were Chosen

This week’s Parsha discusses the inauguration of the Mishkan-the Tabernacle in which the Divine Presence dwelled throughout the sojourns of the Jews after the Exodus from Egypt. The Torah already devoted an extraordinary amount of Parshiyos to this subject beginning with the instructions, to the donation of materials, until it’s construction by the wisest men. It all comes to a culmination in this Parsha where after 7 days of preparation, Aharon the Kohein Gadol-High Priest, and his sons perform the holy service in the Mishkan whereupon the Divine Presence descended to dwell in the Mishkan!
The Torah recounts how Moshe told his brother, “Come close to the Mizbeiach…”
The Sages explain that Moshe was enjoining his brother Aharon, “Why are you embarrassed (to come close and perform the holy service)? For this you were chosen!” The simple understanding is that Moshe was reassuring Aharon that there is no reason to hold back as Aharon was chosen for this lofty task by Hashem.
Rabbi Yitzchak of Volozhin explains a deeper meaning in the above statement. “For this very reason, (the fact that you are a person of humility and don’t feel that you are fitting for this great position), you were chosen!”
True honor only comes to those who are humble and realize whatever level they have attained, there is still so much more to strive for.
This is not the first time we are shown Aharon’s humility. When Hashem first tapped Moshe to become the savior and redeemer of the Jews in Egypt, Moshe responded that his older brother Aharon who had led the Jews during the duration that Moshe had been in Midyan, should be chosen instead.
Hahsem responded that when Aharon will realize that his brother Moshe was chosen, he will rejoice thoroughly in his heart over the great merits of his younger brother!
Our Sages explain because of Aharon’s self-effacement and his gladness of heart for his brother, Aharon would later be chosen to wear the garments of the High-Priest over his heart.
There is an expression the Sages say, “One who chases after honor, honor flees from him. One who runs away from honor, honor pursues him!” A story is told with one who comes to his Rabbi and complains, “I’ve been running away from honor for years and yet I haven’t seen honor pursue me and overtake me!” The Rabbi wisely responded, “That’s because you keep looking over your shoulder to check whether honor is chasing you! You are only acting as if you don’t seek honor but deep down, that’s all you’re thinking about!”
However, regarding Aharon, Hashem testifies that he”ll be glad In his heart! It was not merely skin-deep humility; rather, Aharon possessed this trait through and through. This is why he merited the great privilege of being chosen as the Kohein Gadol-the High Priest.

By Rabbi Sharaga Thav

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