Print This Post Print This Post

Fearless or legless?

Written by Rabbi Daniel Leeman

When the time came for Aharon’s inauguration service in the Tabernacle, Moshe encouraged him to “approach the altar” [1]. We have been taught that this encouragement was necessary because Aharon was afraid and embarrassed. Moshe accordingly encouraged him by asking “why are you embarrassed? – that is why you were chosen!” [2] Subsequently Aharon began his service.

Upon closer examination however, whilst Moshe seems to have dealt with Aharon’s embarrassment, he did not seem to address the fear that Aharon was undergoing. If only half of his reluctance was resolved, how then did Aharon immediately manage to begin his service seemingly without any reluctance whatsoever?

R’ Leib Gloiberman was told by the doctors that his leg would have to be amputated.
But after the operation the doctors admitted that they had made an error and that the operation had not actually been necessary after all!

But when R’ Leib heard, he declared that such a conclusion was heresy: every single thing that happens has been decreed in Heaven. “And even if your medical books claim that a leg like mine could have been healed without an amputation,” he continued in response to the doctor’s admittance, “nevertheless mine needed one!”
Noticing the doctor’s scepticism, R’ Leib continued, “I will prove it to you: the very fact that it was cut off testifies to the fact! The very fact that you managed to cut it off it is a sign that the Almighty desired it to happen!”

A high level indeed – but an important message nonetheless. Just a theoretical message in the limb department hopefully, but one that no doubt could, and should be applied throughout our day to day life.

Aharon was no doubt on this level. And so, even though he did not actually participate in the sin of the golden calf, he nevertheless recognised the fact that he was somewhat involved. And so, his fear was not his nerves at the upcoming inauguration service, but instead his fear of sin, specifically his involvement in the sin of the golden calf [3].

Why did Moshe not attempt to address Aharon’s fear; and what suddenly happened to Aharon’s fear that had initially caused his reluctance to begin his Divine service? Both Moshe and Aharon knew that fear of sin is actually a positive trait: “my sins are always before me” [4] “fortunate is the man who always fears” [5]. Subsequently not only was there no need to dispel this fear, but on the contrary it was encouraged: “this is why you were chosen!”

Have a feartunate Shabbos,


Additional sources:
Haposeach b’Chol Yom, Tammuz 5778 (brought in Ki Attah Imadi, Hodaya p. 213-4)
[1] Vayikra 9:7
[2] Rashi, Vayikra 9:7
[3] See also Ramban
[4] Tehillim 51:5
[5] Mishlei 28:14

Leave a Comment