Aharon was great because he never changed.
In Parshat Behaalotecha the Torah tells us about the great privilege that Aharon the High Priest had to kindle the menorah. Following the instruction given to Aharon, the Torah says (Bamidbar 8:3) “Vayaas ken Aharon.” – “Aharon did it.”
It’s quite an astonishing statement! Of course he did it! Would he think of doing anything else? And then Rashi on Bamidbar 8:3 cites the words of the midrash:
“Lehagid shifcho shel Aharon, shelo shinah.” – “The Torah tells us this as praise for Aharon to let us know that he never changed.”
What exactly is meant here by the words ‘he never changed,’ and why is it so praiseworthy for Aharon the High Priest to carry out the will of Hashem? Surely no other thought could have crossed his mind?
The Sfat Emet gives a beautiful peirush here: Usually when one starts to perform a deed, even if it is an enormous privilege, in the course of time you’ll start to get used to it and the original enthusiasm is likely to wane. However, that never happened with regard to Aharon.
On the first day, when he had that privilege of kindling the menorah, he was full of excitement and passion, and that never changed – ‘lo shinah!’ Throughout the entire time that he was the High Priest, every time he kindled that menorah, he had the same enthusiasm as that which he had on the very first day.
The message of this Torah passage is, I believe, of particular relevance today at a time when sadly, in some quarters, there is apathy. If that was the case in pre-Covid times, how much more so is it the case now that hopefully the pandemic is behind us?
We need to follow in the footsteps of Aharon, to maintain that level of passion. What an enormous privilege we have – to have the Torah to inspire and guide us always!
Let us therefore guarantee that the natural enthusiasm and passion of Aharon will be part of our lives forever.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis