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Parashat Beha'alotcha - 5775

My friends,

Last week's Torah portion ended with the presentation by each of the twelve leaders of a gift to the newly dedicated Tabernacle. Each gift consisted of a silver bowl, a silver basin, flour and oil, a golden ladle, a bull, a ram, a lamb, and a goat, as well as two oxen, five rams, five he-goats and five yearlings lambs. Multiply that by twelve, and it would seem that there are enough animals to last for the daily offerings.

This week's portion begins with G-d telling Moses to give instructions to Aaron on the lighting of the Menorah that stood at the Temple, and that it is Aaron who will be in charge of cleaning, setting and lighting the Menorah, every single day.

There is a beautiful commentary by our great sage Rashi who answers the question as to why the instructions regarding the Menoarh are given here, immediately after the description of the gifts by the leaders of each tribe. Rashi explains that Aaron must have felt bad and left out for not having the opportunity to bring a gift on behalf of the tribe of the Levites just like the other leaders. Each leader of the other tribes had 'his big day', while he, Aaron, who is he head of the tribe of Levi, did not get that opportunity and honor to have 'his own big day'. Telling Aaron about his role in caring for the light in the Temple conveys the message that his role is much greater than that of the other leaders. They brought their gifts, had 'their big day' and left. Their task was completed. They were done as far as the temple was concerned. Not so for Aaron. Aaron's job requires his attention and involvement every day. He will be getting 'his hands dirty' for the good of the community by cleaning and lighting the Menorah, bringing light to the people.

There is a very important message for us. In our relationships to our community, our family, our friends, it is not the 'big things' that count, it is the small things that must be done day after day. It is not enough to get involved only for the major events, but to be there on a continuous basis, to make sure that there is a Shabbat and a daily minyan. And we are not supposed to tire for doing those things time after time. The same is true with all our relationships. We can't just be there for the special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc, but we must be there for the small but important acts of kindness that must be performed at all times.

Shabbat Shalom,