"And Aaron shall bear the judgement of the children of Israel upon his heart" (28:30)

Aaron the High Priest was the heart of the Jewish nation: just as the heart feels the pain of every limb of the body, so did Aaron bear the judgements and tribulations visited upon his people.

Be'er Mayim Chaim

Excuses may be helpful in absolving one from responsibility and culpability. But the best excuse in the world cannot undo a negative occurrence or recreate a missed opportunity.

Chassidic saying

In 1910, the czarist government convened a "rabbinical conference." The aim: to force changes in Jewish religious life. Prior to the meeting, the participants had been privately shown a list of 102 Jewish communities where the government promised to "arrange" pogroms should the conference fail to endorse its position.

To Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch the issue was a matter of spiritual life and death. Throughout the conference, he fought against the government's plans. When he rose to speak, he publicly exposed the ministers who had threatened pogroms. He then unequivocally stated:

"True, we live under the dominion of the Russian government. But their jurisdiction over us extends only to material matters. In all that concerns our faith, no sovereign or regime on earth has the authority to dictate to the us."

So deeply did the Rebbe feel for the matter that at the end of his impassioned speech he fainted.

He was immediately placed under house arrest for his words. Later one of the leading rabbis of the time came to see him. The visitor found the Rebbe weeping. "Lubavitcher Rebbe!," exclaimed the rabbi, "why are you so distressed? You have done everything you possibly can!"

The Rebbe utterly failed to see his point. "So what?" he said. "The tragic decree has been enacted."