Friday, June 29, 2012

Parsha Perspective

By Rabbi Yisroel Shusterman, Dean, Cheder Chabad of Monsey

As I read this week’s portion of Chukas (Bamidbor [Numbers] 19:1-22:1) and the passing of Aaron, the first High Priest, (20:23-29), I think to myself - I never met you, Aaron, but I miss you. If you would only be alive I would love to be your secretary, scheduling for you meeting after meeting where you would do what you did best.

I already prepared a list for you.

You, who after your death, had thousands of children named after you because if not for your saving their parent's marriage they would have never entered this world.

I would set you up with thousands of couples who are about to untie the knot. Maybe you would save a few.

I would set you up with so many men, women and children who have lost their direction in life. Maybe you would be able to touch the hearts of those who have fallen off the beaten path, and bring our lost children home.

You, who when two people quarreled, would go and sit with one of them and say to him: "My son, have you seen what your friend is doing? He beats his chest and rends his clothes, saying: 'Woe is to me! How can I lift my eyes to see my friend? I am ashamed to show myself to him, for I have done him wrong!'" And so you would sit with him, until he removed the ill-feelings from his heart. Then you would go and sit with the other and say to him: "My son, have you seen what your friend is doing? He beats his chest and rends his clothes, saying: 'Woe is to me! How can I lift my eyes to see my friend? I am ashamed to show myself to him, for I have done him wrong!'" And so you would sit with him, until he removed the ill-feelings from his heart. When the two would meet, they would embrace and kiss each other—

I would set you up with family members (aren't we all family members?) who have disowned their flesh and blood. Maybe you know how to bring all of us back to the same table where we would make peace and unite all as one.

You, who the entire Jewish people mourned for thirty days after your death (unlike when your brother Moses passed away, when only "the sons of Israel" cried), because you touched the life of each Jew—

It's more than three millennia since your death, but not much has changed. Sandals are still in style, the Middle East is still the center of major world events and controversies, anti-Semitism is vibrant as ever by the descendants of our first tormentor Amalek, and we still fight over the same petty things such as respect, money and convenience.

You would feel right at home. And again you would serve as the paradigm of peace and harmony that we all need to emulate.

I would love to welcome you back.

(excerpts from Chabad.org by Rabbi Levi Avtzon )

Have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!