1. Aaron Was the Brother of Moses

As documented in the Torah, Aaron (Aharon in Hebrew) was the son of Amram and Yocheved, and the elder brother of Miriam and Moses—the prophet chosen by G‑d to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and communicate the Torah to them in the desert.

Read: Moses: The Greatest Prophet

2. He and Miriam Were Older Than Moses

We read that “Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh,”1 which tells us that Aaron was older than Moses by three years. (It also tells us that it is never too late to embark on a new career).

We know that Miriam was older, too, by virtue of the fact that she watched over the infant Moses when he was placed in a basket on the Nile, and even arranged for her mother to nurse him after he was found and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.2

Read: Miriam: Tambourines of Rebellion

3. He Was Moses’ Spokesperson

As G‑d convinced a reluctant Moses to act as His agent to confront Pharaoh and take the people out of Egypt, He told him that he would not be alone in his efforts. “Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite?” said G‑d to Moses, who had a speech impediment. “...You shall speak to him, and you shall put the words into his mouth ... And he will speak for you to the people.”3

4. He Assisted Moses With Bringing the Plagues

Aaron did more than just talk. He actually performed many miracles on G‑d’s behalf, including turning his staff into a snake and then having his staff eat the staffs of Pharaoh’s magicians. He also used his staff to bring about the first three plagues: blood, frogs, and lice.4

Read: The 10 Plagues

5. Aaron and Moses Were Equals

In almost every instance in Scripture, Moses’ name appears before Aaron’s. The order is occasionally reversed, however, to teach us that Aaron was equal to Moses in spiritual stature, and that there is no reason not to list him before his younger, more prominent brother, who was described as the greatest prophet of all time.5

Read: Who Was the Greatest Prophet of All Time?

6. His Wife’s Name Was Elisheva

We read that Aaron married “Elisheva, the daughter of Aminadav, the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Itamar.”6 Why does Scripture specifically mention her brother? When considering a potential wife, the sages explain, it is important to look at her brothers, as a person is a reflection of the home they grew up in and those with whom they shared their formative years.7

Read: Who Was Elisheva?

7. He Was Sucked Into the Golden Calf Debacle

After Moses did not come down from Mount Sinai when the people expected him to, they clamored for a “god” who would lead them and turned to Aaron to make it happen. Hoping to stall for time,8 Aaron told them to bring him gold, which he threw into a fire, resulting in a golden calf, around which they sang, danced, and brought sacrifices.9

Read: Was Aaron Responsible for the Golden Calf?

8. G‑d Chose Him to Be the High Priest

After G‑d forgave the people for making the Golden Calf, he commanded them to build a tabernacle, in which Aaron served as the High Priest. From then on, the priests (kohanim) in the Tabernacle (and later in the Holy Temples) would all be descendants of Aaron.10

Read: How Is a High Priest Selected?

9. He Was Silent in the Face of Loss

The inauguration of the Tabernacle was marred by tragedy. Two of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, entered the Holy of Holies and “offered a strange fire before G‑d, which He had not commanded … a fire went out from G‑d and consumed them, and they died before G‑d.”11

How did Aaron react? Vayidom Aharon, “and Aaron was silent,”12 providing a paradigm of acceptance and faith in the face of unfathomable loss.

Read: Suffering in Silence

10. G‑d Spoke to Him

Most of G‑d’s laws were communicated exclusively to Moses. In some instances, G‑d addressed both Moses and Aaron.13 After his stoic response to the death of his two sons, Aaron was the sole recipient of G‑d’s new command that priests may not enter or perform service in the Tabernacle while intoxicated.14

Read: What Is Judaism’s Take on Alcohol Consumption?

11. His Leadership Was Challenged

Not everyone took kindly to the fact that Moses’ own brother was chosen to be High Priest. His jealous cousin Korach coveted the position for himself and instigated a rebellion under the duplicitous accusation that “the entire congregation is holy, and the L‑rd is in their midst. So why do you raise yourselves above the L‑rd's assembly?”15

G‑d decisively showed that He had chosen Aaron and his progeny in a series of events that included the earth swallowing up the leaders of the rebellion,16 a fire consuming the pretenders to the priesthood,17 and Aaron’s staff miraculously sprouting almonds.18

Read: Korach, the Rebel of the Bible

12. Aaron Was a Lover of Peace

The great sage Hillel was known to say, “Be a disciple of Aaron—a lover of peace, a pursuer of peace, one who loves the creatures and draws them close to Torah.”19

How so? Whenever he heard that two people were engaged in a matter of contention, he would approach each belligerent individual and tell them that he had a message from the other person. He would explain how the other person longed to resolve their issue and had sent Aaron to request conciliation. He would do this to both sides. Then, when the two would meet, each would assume the other wanted peace, and the confrontation would end peacefully.20

Read: I Miss You, Aaron!

13. His Yahrzeit Is the Only One Mentioned in the Torah

After Moses and Aaron sinned by not speaking to the rock which was to give forth water as G‑d commanded, it was decreed that they would both be prevented from entering the Holy Land.21 We thus read that “Aaron ascended Mount Hor at G‑d’s bidding and died there, on the first day of the fifth month (Av) in the fortieth year of the Children of Israel’s exodus from Egypt.”22 This is the only date of death specifically recorded in the Torah.

Read: Moses Strikes the Rock, the Full Story

14. He Was Succeeded by His Son Elazar

When the time came, Moses escorted Aaron and his son Elazar up Mount Hor to the cave that would be Aaron’s final resting place. There, Moses undressed Aaron and gave the priestly garments to Elazar, officially transferring the High Priesthood.23

Read: Who Was Elazar?

15. Aaron Was Mourned for a Full Month

When Moses and Elazar returned without Aaron, “the whole congregation saw that Aaron had expired, and the entire House of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty days.” This extensive expression of mourning was unique to Aaron, who had devoted his life to making peace between people and was beloved by all.24

Intrigued? Read: A Biography of Aaron the High Priest