“Okay boys, let’s go to the next Rashi,” Rabbi Klein said to his class. “The pasuk says Vaya’as kein Aharon: ‘And Aharon did so.’ Rashi says: L’hagid shivacho shel Aharon shelo shinah — ‘To tell the praise of Aharon, that he made no changes.’ Aharon did exactly what Moshe told him.

“What’s Rashi’s question? Why does he feel it necessary to make this comment?”

Moshe’s hand shot up. For several months now, Rabbi Klein had been teaching them the Rebbe’s approach to Rashi: that every word means something. Even if Rashi doesn’t actually ask a question, his comments are answering a question that a thinking person might have. Moshe liked trying to figure out these questions.

“I think I know,” he answered. “The Torah tells us about many commandments which HaShem gave Am Yisrael. But it doesn’t always tell us that a commandment was fulfilled. If it tells us here that Aharon fulfilled HaShemscommand, there must be a reason.”

“Very good,” Rabbi Klein replied. “Mentioning that Aharon fulfilled the command appears extra, so Rashi tells us that this teaches a lesson — that Aharon did exactly what Moshe told him to do.”

“Rabbi Klein,” called out David. “I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but isn’t that kind of obvious? Aharon knew that this is what HaShem had commanded. Obviously, he would do what HaShem said. Why does he deserve special praise?”

“That question shows you’re thinking,” Rabbi Klein responded. “Before we understand the answer, let’s remind ourselves about what the Mishkan was all about. The activities performed in the Mishkan were not just physical acts; everything had a spiritual intent.

“Here, the Torah is telling us about the lighting of the menorah. The lamps of the menorah are like the souls of Am Yisrael, as the pasuk says: Ner HaShem nishmas adam — “The soul of man is the lamp of HaShem.” Every Jew is a lamp, but not every lamp is shining. Lighting the lamp was Aharon’s job. He would light the spark in every Jew’s neshamah, inspiring him to serve HaShem.

“But I still don’t understand,” David persisted. “Why should he get praised for doing what HaShem told him to do?”

“I’m getting to that,” Rabbi Klein continued. “Remember the play we put on last year? Everyone was excited about their part in the play, but when the curtain went up, some of the boys suddenly got very nervous.

“What happened? They knew they had an important part, and that many people would be looking at them. They were so nervous that they almost couldn’t act.

“This is why Aharon was praised. He knew that HaShem Himself was watching. And he knew that he was doing a very important service for Am Yisrael. Still, he didn’t get nervous at all. He was able to light the menorah and light the spark in the Jews’ neshamos. He kindled the menorah’s lamp, following all the detailed instructions of HaShem.”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 686)