News From Ramaz
By Ms. Tzipora Ross, MS Judaic Studies Coordinator
In this week's parasha, Parashat Shemot, the Torah introduces us to the most illustrious figure in all of Tanakh, Moshe Rabbeinu. As those students who pass through our Middle School learn, Moshe is raised away from his birth parents, yet finds a connection to his people at a relatively young age, standing up for those who are downtrodden or bullied. The leadership skills he displays help us understand why Hashem chooses Moshe to be the ultimate leader and redeemer of the Jewish people.
In a far more muted way, Moshe's brother Aharon is also introduced in this parasha. After Moshe spends days arguing with Hashem that he is unworthy to lead the mission to bring redemption to the Jewish people, Hashem, in a moment of anger, says that Aharon will be the spokesman.
ד:יד: "הלא אהרן אחיך הלוי ידעתי כי דבר ידבר הוא...וראך ושמח בלבו"
"Isn't it Aharon your brother the Levi whom I know will surely be the speaker...and he will see you and be happy in his heart."
Rashi quotes the Gemara in Masechet Zevachim (102a) which explains why Aharon is referred to as a Levi. At this moment, it is in fact Moshe who is supposed to undertake the roles of both leader and Kohen of the Jewish people, while Aharon will be a Levi, like the rest of his tribe. However, because of Aharon's genuine happiness for his brother being leader of the Jewish people, Aharon instead is designated to become the Kohen Gadol and wear the bejeweled breastplate over his heart. The Orach Chaim Hakadosh elaborates and explains that, in fact, Aharon had the right to be upset and jealous that his younger brother was designated a leader instead of him. Not only was Aharon not upset, he was genuinely happy for Moshe to obtain this position. Because he displayed his happiness not only on the outside when he met Moshe, but felt this way in his heart as well, Hashem rewarded him (and his descendants) with the kehuna.
The message we can take away from Aharon in this parasha is to realize that we each have a different potential. Rather than being jealous of another person who attains something (whether it be on a sports team, as a test grade, or in a friend group), it is important to focus on our own character growth and development; in other words, be like Aharon, and be genuinely happy for your brother's (or friend's) successes.