Perhaps the most dominant theme in the Rebbe’s analysis of Rashi’s commentary is his focus on Rashi’s statement,1 “I have come solely to explain the straightforward meaning of Scripture.” Even when a straightforward interpretation of a word or verse differs with the interpretation given in the Midrash or the Talmud, Rashi willfollow the straightforward meaning.

Building on that premise in the sichah which follows, the Rebbe focuses on Rashi’s commentary on the phrase, “Moshe heard…,”2 that manyother Rabbinic authorities modify so that it fits our Sages’ interpretation of that phrase in the Talmud.3 The Rebbe, however, understands Rashi’s commentary as intended to be read straightforwardly even though it differs from the Talmudic understanding. By raising pointed questions, he carefully and systematically demonstrates that the Talmud’s interpretation does not fit with the words Rashi uses, nor with the straightforward interpretation of the Torah’s narrative.

Another one of the principles the Rebbe frequently emphasizes in his explanation of Rashi’s commentary is that embedded within the straightforward explanation Rashi provides is the “wine of the Torah,”4 deeper concepts which include even the Torah’s mystical dimension. Similarly, in this instance, the Rebbe explains how the commentary under discussion clarifies the respective approaches of Moshe and Aharon to the matter at hand and how their approaches reflect the mystical qualities each of them embodied. Appreciating the nature of the interaction between the two enables us to understand how the attribute of truth can be timeless and immutable and yet simultaneously relevant to each individual according to that individual’s particular situation.

Acknowledging a Lapse


In the midst of offering sacrifices for the dedication of the Sanctuary, Aharon’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, brought “a strange fire that they were not commanded [to bring].”5 As a result, they passed away.6 Despite this tragedy, Moshe instructed Aharon and his surviving sons, Elazar and Isamar, to continue the sacrificial worship of the day,7 including partaking of the sacrifices they offered.

Although Aharon and his sons carried out Moshe’s command, they did not partake of the goat offered as a sin-offering for Rosh Chodesh8 and, instead, had it burnt. Moshe was upset with Aharon’s sons and rebuked them, demanding,9 “Why did you not eat the sin-offering in the sacred place?”

Hearing Moshe’s rebuke, Aharon responded, “Today … a tragedy befell me. Had I eaten the sin-offering today, would G‑d have approved?”

Moshe did not object to Aharon’s statement. On the contrary,10 “Moshe heard, and it found favor in his eyes.”

Rashi cites the words, “it found favor in his eyes,” and comments, “[Moshe] acknowledged [Aharon’s words] and was not ashamed to say, ‘I did not hear [this law].’ ”


אִין פָּסוּקא “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” אִיז רַשִׁ”י מַעְתִּיק פוּן פָּסוּק דִי ווֶערְטֶער “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” אוּן אִיז מְפָרֵשׁ “הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ לוֹמַר לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”.

The supercommentaries11 interpret Rashi as actually saying something other than what his words imply at first glance. Based on the explanation of the narrative in the Talmud,12 they understand Rashi’s words to mean that because Moshe was not ashamed, he did not say “I did not hear [this law].” Were Moshe to have been ashamed, he would have said exactly that, “I did not hear [this law].” However, Moshe did not feel embarrassment and try to excuse himself by saying, “I did not hear [this law].” Instead, since he was not ashamed, he humbly acknowledged Aharon’s words and said, “I heard, but I forgot.”

לֶערְנֶען מְפָרְשִׁיםב דֶעם פִּירוּשׁ אִין רַשִׁ”י, אַז ווֶען מֹשֶׁה ווָאלְט גֶעווֶען “בּוֹשׁ” ווָאלְט עֶר גֶעזָאגְט “לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי” (אוּן דֶער פִּירוּשׁ פוּן “וְלֹא בוֹשׁ לוֹמַר לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי” אִיז ווִי סְ'ווָאלְט שְׁטֵיין וְלֹא אָמַר, מִצַּד שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹשׁ, לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי), ווִיבַּאלְד אָבֶּער אַז “לֹא בוֹשׁ” הָאט עֶר נִיט גֶעזָאגְט “לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”, נָאר “הוֹדָה” אוּן גֶעזָאגְט “שָׁמַעְתִּי וְשָׁכַחְתִּי”, ווִי דִי גְמָרָא אִיז מְפָרֵשׁג.

Nevertheless, according to a straightforward reading of Rashi, the above interpretation is entirely inexplicable. As is well-known, Rashi composed his commentary in a clear and unambiguous style so that a five-year-old beginning his study of the Written Torah could understand it. If Rashi’s intent was that Moshe acknowledged Aharon’s words and said, “I heard, but I forgot,” Rashi would not have left out this fundamental point – the very words that Moshe said. Indeed, if the Talmud felt it necessary to state them explicitly, how much more so, should Rashi have done so.

עֶס אִיז אָבֶּער (עַל דֶּרֶךְ הַפְּשַׁט בְּפִירוּשׁ רַשִׁ”י) אִינְגַאנְצְן נִיט פַארְשְׁטַאנְדִיק: סְ'אִיז יָדוּעַ אַז רַשִׁ”י הָאט גֶעשְׁרִיבְּן זַיְין פִּירוּשׁ אִין אַ קְלָארְן אוּן אָפֶענֶעם סִגְנוֹן, אַז אוֹיךְ אַ בֶּן חָמֵשׁ לְמִקְרָא זָאל קֶענֶען פַארְשְׁטֵיין. אִיז אוֹיבּ רַשִׁ”י ווָאלְט גֶעמֵיינְט אַז מֹשֶׁה הָאט מוֹדֶה גֶעווֶען אוּן גֶעזָאגְט “שָׁמַעְתִּי וְשָׁכַחְתִּי” ווָאלְט דָאךְ רַשִׁ”י נִיט פַארְפֶעלְט צוּ זָאגְן דֶעם עִיקָר – דִי ווֶערְטֶער ווָאס מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעזָאגְט (וּבְמִכָּל שֶׁכֵּן פוּן דֶעם ווָאס דִי גְמָרָא דַארְף עֶס מְפָרֵט זַיְין);

It is also obvious that Rashi did not rely on the Talmud to clarify that Moshe said, “I heard, but I forgot.” As mentioned many times, Rashi interprets the meaning of the verses, explaining them as they appear in their immediate place and does not rely on explanations found in other sources. In particular, this is true in the present instance where Rashi does not even mention that the source of his commentary is in the Talmud.

אוֹיךְ אִיז פָּשׁוּט, אַז מֶען קֶען נִיט זָאגְן אַז רַשִׁ”י פַארְלָאזְט זִיךְ אוֹיף דֶעם ווָאס אִין גְמָרָא שְׁטֵייט “שָׁמַעְתִּי וְשָׁכַחְתִּי”, ווָארוּם, כִּמְדוּבָּר כַּמָּה פְּעָמִים אִיז רַשִׁ”י מְפָרֵשׁ דֶעם פְּשַׁט הַכְּתוּבִים (עַל אֲתַר), אוּן אִיז זִיךְ נִיט סוֹמֵךְ אוֹיף דֶעם ווָאס אִיז מְפוֹרָשׁ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר; אוּן בִּפְרַט בְּנִדּוֹן דִּידַן ווָאס רַשִׁ”י צֵייכְנְט אֲפִילוּ נִיט אָן אַז דֶער מָקוֹר פוּן זַיְין פִּירוּשׁ אִיז אִין גְמָרָא.

All the above points lead to the conclusion that Rashi – based on the straightforward understanding of Scripture – is presenting a different interpretation. He does not interpret the verse as it is understood according to halachah, i.e., the manner in which the Talmud interprets it. In particular, this is true since the exchange between Aharon and Moshe is also mentioned by Toras Kohanim. That source employs different wording13 than the Talmud does, and Rashi follows the wording of Toras Kohanim.14

לוֹיט דֶעם אַלֶעם אִיז מַשְׁמַע לְהֵיפֶּךְ, אַז רַשִׁ”י (פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא) לֶערְנְט דָא נִיט ווִי (לִימּוּד הַמִּקְרָא עַל דֶּרֶךְ הַהֲלָכָה, הַלִּימּוּד) אִין גְמָרָא; וּבִפְרַט אַז דֶער עִנְיָן אִיז דָא אוֹיךְ אִין תּוֹרַת כֹּהֲנִים, אוּן דָארְטד אִיז דֶער לָשׁוֹן נִיט ווִי אִין גְמָרָא, אוּן רַשִׁ”י קְלַיְיבְּט אוֹיס דֶעם לָשׁוֹן פוּן תּוֹרַת כֹּהֲנִיםה.

What Motivated Rashi’s Commentary?

Selections from Likkutei Sichos - Shemot (SIE)

Insights into the Weekly Parshah by the Lubavitcher Rebbe selected from the Likkutei Sichos series.


There are other points that require clarification:

a) What is the difficulty that exists in this verse that Rashi felt necessary to clarify by saying, “[Moshe] acknowledged [Aharon’s words] and was not ashamed…”? The meaning of the verse appears to be straightforward, “Moshe heard”15 Aharon’s words and they “found favor in his eyes.”


אוֹיךְ דַארְף מֶען פַארְשְׁטֵיין: א) ווָאס אִיז דָא בִּכְלַל שְׁווֶער אִין פָּסוּק ווָאס רַשִׁ”י דַארְף בַּאווָארֶענֶען (מִיטְ'ן פִּירוּשׁ אַז הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ כו')? דֶער פָּסוּק אִיז לִכְאוֹרָה פַארְשְׁטַאנְדִיק בְּפַשְׁטוּת: “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה” – לְאַחֲרֵי ווִי מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעהֶערְט טַעֲנַת אַהֲרֹן אִיז – “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו”;

b) According to the straightforward understanding of Scripture, what forces Rashi to say that Moshe “acknowledged [Aharon’s words] and was not ashamed to say, ‘I did not hear [this law]’ ”?

ב) פוּן ווַאנֶען אִיז דֶער הֶכְרַח אִין פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא אַז “הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ לוֹמַר לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי?”

There are commentaries16 that understand that Rashi was compelled to offer this commentary because the verse states, “Moshe heard….” On the surface, that phrase is superfluous, because Moshe certainly heard what Aharon told him. All that is necessary for the verse to state is “[His words] found favor in Moshe’s eyes.” Since before stating this, the verse states, “Moshe heard,” Rashi understands that the implication is that Moshe had previously heard from G‑d what Aharon told him. However, he had forgotten them. Therefore, after he remembered, he told Aharon that his words found favor in his eyes, thus admitting that he had forgotten them.

סְ'זַיְינֶען דָא מְפָרְשִׁיםו ווָאס לֶערְנֶען, אַז דֶער הֶכְרַח אוֹיף רַשִׁ”י'ס פִּירוּשׁ אִיז פוּן דֶעם לָשׁוֹן הַכָּתוּב “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה”, ווָאס לִכְאוֹרָה אִיז דָאס אִיבֶּערִיק (ווָארוּם גֶעווִיס הָאט עֶר גֶעהֶערְט ווָאס אַהֲרֹן הָאט אִים גֶעזָאגְט) אוּן עֶס הָאט בְּלוֹיז גֶעדַארְפְט שְׁטֵיין “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי מֹשֶׁה”.

פוּן דֶעם ווָאס דֶער פָּסוּק זָאגְט (פַאר דֶעם) “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה” אִיז רַשִׁ”י מְדַיֵיק, אַז דָאס מֵיינְט אַז דָאס ווָאס אַהֲרֹן הָאט גֶעזָאגְט הָאט שׁוֹין מֹשֶׁה פְרִיעֶר גֶעהֶערְט (פוּן דֶעם אוֹיבֶּערְשְׁטְן), נָאר עֶר הָאט פַארְגֶעסְן, אוּן דֶערְפַאר אִיז “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” אַהֲרֹן'ס רֵייד נָאכְן דֶערְמָאנֶען זִיךְ.

However, according to a straightforward approach to Scripture, it seems impossible to understand Rashi’s commentary in this manner. There are two problematic points raised by the commentaries: 17

a) According to that interpretation, the verse should have stated “and Moshe had heard” or the like, wording which emphasizes that he had heard the concept previously.

b) Rashi should have also cited the words “Moshe heard.”

Moreover, according to those who interpret Rashi as following the understanding of the Talmud, Rashi should have explicitly stated that interpretation.18 In particular, this is true because that interpretation negates the straightforward meaning of “Moshe heard.” According to its straightforward meaning, the verse refers to the words that Moshe had just heard from Aharon, while according to the Talmud it refers to a law that he had previously heard from G‑d. At the very least, if this was his intent, Rashi should have specified, “I indeed heard and (I forgot).” From that addition, it would have been possible to understand – albeit with difficulty – this interpretation of “Moshe heard.”

לִכְאוֹרָה אָבֶּער קֶען מֶען אַזוֹי נִיט לֶערְנֶען (עַל פִּי פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא, וּבְמֵילָא נִיט) בְּפִירוּשׁ רַשִׁ”י ווָארוּם [נוֹסָף אוֹיף דִי קוּשְׁיוֹת ווָאס מְפָרְשִׁיםז פְרֶעגְן אַז: א) עַל פִּי זֶה הָאט גֶעדַארְפְט שְׁטֵיין “וּמֹשֶׁה שָׁמַע” וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה) ווָאס זָאל מַדְגִּישׁ זַיְין אַז עֶר הָאט שׁוֹין גֶעהֶערְט בְּעָבַר), ב) רַשִׁ”י הָאט זִיךְ גֶעדַארְפְט שְׁטֶעלְן (אויךְ) אוֹיף דִי ווֶערְטֶער “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה”, אִיז] לְפִי זֶה הָאט רַשִׁ”י גֶעדַארְפְט דָאס זָאגְן בָּרוּרח, וּבִפְרַט אַז עֶר אִיז דֶערְמִיט מְבַטֵּל דֶעם פִּירוּשׁ כִּפְשׁוּטוֹ פוּן “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה” (אַז דָאס גֵייט אוֹיף דֶעם ווָאס עֶר הָאט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אַהֲרֹן'עֶן); אָדֶער עַל כָּל פָּנִים מְפָרֵט זַיְין “שָׁמַעְתִּי (וְשָׁכַחְתִּי)”, ווָאס דֶערְפוּן ווָאלְט מֶען (בְּדוֹחַק) גֶעקֶענְט פַארְשְׁטֵיין זַיְין פִּירוּשׁ אִין “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה”.

Why Moshe Erred


A further point requires clarification: In Parshas Mattos, on the verse,19 “Elazar, the kohen, said…,” Rashi comments:

Since Moshe was aroused to a state of anger, he came to err and the laws of purging [utensils that had belonged to] non-Jews eluded him.

A similar incident happened on the eighth day of the dedication [of the Sanctuary] as it is written,20 “He [Moshe] became angry with Elazar and Isamar”; he was aroused to a state of anger, and he came to err. Similarly, [when he castigated the Jewish people] “ ‘Now listen, you rebels…,’ and struck the rock,”21 he came to err because of anger.

From that source, we see that, according to a straightforward understanding of Scripture, it is necessary to have a reason and an explanation why Moshe came to err. Since this difficulty22 first arose in this Torah reading, Rashi should have explained here that Moshe’s error came about because he was aroused to a state of anger. Why does Rashi clarify this point so much later, in Parshas Mattos, and not here, in this Torah reading, immediately when it first arises?


אוֹיךְ דַארְף מֶען פַארְשְׁטֵיין: אִין פַּרְשַׁת מַטּוֹתט אוֹיפְן פָּסוּק “וַיֹּאמֶר אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן וגו'“ זָאגְט רַשִׁ”י “לְפִי שֶׁבָּא מֹשֶׁה לִכְלַל כַּעַס בָּא לִכְלַל טָעוּת שֶׁנִּתְעַלְּמוּ מִמֶּנּוּ הִלְכוֹת גִּעוּלֵי נָכְרִים, וְכֵן אַתָּה מוֹצֵא בַּשְּׁמִינִי לַמִּלּוּאִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּקְצֹף עַל אֶלְעָזָר וְעַל אִיתָמָר בָּא לִכְלַל כַּעַס בָּא לִכְלַל טָעוּת. וְכֵן בְּשִׁמְעוּ נָא הַמּוֹרִים וַיַּךְ אֶת הַסֶּלַעי עַל יְדֵי הַכַּעַס טָעָה”, ווָאס פוּן דֶעם זֶעט מֶען אַז עַל פִּי פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא דַארְף מֶען הָאבְּן אַ טַעַם וְהֶסְבֵּר פַארְווָאס מֹשֶׁה הָאט אַ טָעוּת גֶעהַאט – אִיז נִיט מוּבָן: דִי שְׁווֶערִיקַיְיט, ווִי קוּמְט מֹשֶׁה לִכְלַל טָעוּתיא, אִיז דָאךְ צוּם עֶרְשְׁטְן בְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ, הָאט רַשִׁ”י דָא גֶעדַארְפְט מְפָרֵשׁ זַיְין אַז זַיְין טָעוּת אִיז גֶעקוּמֶען צוּלִיבּ דֶעם ווָאס “בָּא לִכְלַל כַּעַס”, פַארְווָאס בַּאווָארֶענְט עֶס רַשִׁ”י עֶרְשְׁט אִין פַּרְשַׁת מַטּוֹת אוּן נִיט עַל אֲתַר, גְלַיְיךְ בְּפַרְשָׁתֵנוּ?

Logic, Not a Divine Command


The explanation of the above is as follows: With his commentary, “[Moshe] acknowledged [Aharon’s words] and was not ashamed to say, ‘I did not hear [this law],’ ” Rashi implies – as is the simple meaning of the words23 – that Moshe acknowledged without shame that he had not heard24 the concept that Aharon brought up, i.e., he had not heard from G‑d the distinction between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion and sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time.25


דֶער בִּיאוּר בְּזֶה: רַשִׁ”י מִיט זַיְין פִּירוּשׁ “הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ לוֹמַר לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי” מֵיינְט דֶעם עִנְיָן כְּפַשְׁטוּת הַלָּשׁוֹןיב, אַז מֹשֶׁה הָאט מוֹדֶה גֶעווֶען אוּן הָאט זִיךְ נִיט גֶעשֶׁעמְט צוּ זָאגְן “לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”יג, אַז עֶר הָאט נִיט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אוֹיבֶּערְשְׁטְן דֶעם חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה אוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹתיד.

Rashi does not interpret the verse as the Talmud does – that Moshe had heard the distinction between these two types of sacrifices from G‑d but forgot it and that he “acknowledged [Aharon’s words] and was not ashamed” to say, “I heard it, but forgot”26 – for the following reasons:

דֶער טַעַם פַארְווָאס עֶר לֶערְנְט נִיט ווִי אִין גְמָרָא אַז מֹשֶׁה הָאט יֶע גֶעהֶערְט דֶעם חִילּוּק נָאר עֶר הָאט עֶס פַארְגֶעסְן – אוּן אִין דֶעם אִיז גֶעווֶען זַיְין “הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ”, אַז עֶר הָאט גֶעזָאגְט “שָׁמַעְתִּי וְשָׁכַחְתִּי”יד*

a) According to the straightforward understanding of Scripture, how could saying the truth – “I heard it, but forgot” – and not saying an untruth27 – “I did not hear it”28 – be something for which Scripture praises Moshe? Obviously, a person should tell the truth.

b) How is it appropriate to say “it found favor in his eyes” regarding something he heard from G‑d?29 How can a mortal pass judgment on the words of the Divine?

c) And most fundamentally, the expression, “it found favor in his eyes,” implies that it could have been otherwise – Moshe could have rejected Aharon’s words – and the verse is teaching us that Moshe accepted Aharon’s words because they “found favor in his eyes.” If Moshe had heard the teaching and forgotten it, the verse should have stated that Aharon’s words found favor in G‑d’s eyes30 – i.e., it was a genuine Torah teaching. If so, what is the verse trying to teach us by saying that Aharon’s words also found favor in Moshe’s eyes?

ווַיְיל דֶעמָאלְט אִיז שְׁווֶער בִּפְשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא: א) ווָאס פַאר אַ שֶׁבַח אִיז דָאס אוֹיף מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ, אַז עֶר הָאט גֶעזָאגְט דֶעם אֱמֶת (“שָׁמַעְתִּי וְשָׁכַחְתִּי”) אוּן נִיט דֶעם הֵיפֶּךְ הָאֱמֶתטו (“לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”)טז ; ב) ווִי פַּאסְט זָאגְן אוֹיף אַ זַאךְ ווָאס עֶר הָאט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אוֹיבֶּערְשְׁטְן “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו”יז ? ג) וְעִיקָר – “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” אִיז מַשְׁמַע אַז עֶס הָאט גֶעקָאנְט זַיְין אַנְדֶערְשׁ וְקָמַשְׁמַע לָן אַז “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” – אוֹיבּ בַּא מֹשֶׁה'ן אִיז גֶעווֶען “שָׁמַעְתִּי (וְשָׁכַחְתִּי)” אִיז דָאס דָאךְ “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי הֲוָיָ'“יז* וּמַאי קָמַשְׁמַע לָן אַז “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו?”

For these reasons, Rashi interprets the passage according to its straightforward meaning – that Moshe had not heard the distinction between these two types of sacrifices from G‑d. This interpretation is reflected in an earlier commentary of Rashi regarding Aharon’s words, “Will this find favor in G‑d’s eyes?” There, Rashi interprets Aharon’s words as meaning, “If you heard a Divine instruction that a person in an acute state of mourning may partake of sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion, you do not have license to act with leniency regarding sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time.”31

According to this interpretation,the following points are understood:

a) Why it was praiseworthy for Moshe to “acknowledge [Aharon’s words] and not [be] ashamed to say, ‘I did not hear [this law].’ ”

Moshe had the option of agreeing to Aharon’s words by remaining silent, because remaining silent is considered acquiescence.32 Alternatively, he even could have acknowledged that Aharon was correct without making it known that he had not heard the matter.

b) The meaning of the words, “It found favor in his eyes.”

According to Rashi’s understanding, Aharon’s words were the product of his own logic. Neither Aharon nor Moshe had heard them from G‑d. Now, we do find that certain laws pertaining to sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time are identical with those pertaining to sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion. For example, earlier, with regard to the passage regarding the Pesach offering brought in Egypt, Rashi33 explains that some – but not all – of these laws apply with regard to the Pesach offering brought for all time. Moshe originally thought that similar logic would apply in this instance as well. Nevertheless, after hearing Aharon’s ruling that in this case a distinction should be made between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time and those to be offered only on one occasion, Aharon’s logic found favor in Moshe’s eyes.34

דֶערִיבֶּער לֶערְנְט רַשִׁ”י כִּפְשׁוּטוֹ, אַז מֹשֶׁה הָאט דֶעם חִילּוּק נִיט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אוֹיבֶּערְשְׁטְן (אוּן ווִי רַשִׁ”י זָאגְט אִין פְרִיעֶרְדִיקְן דִּיבּוּר הַמַּתְחִיל (אוֹיף דִבְרֵי אַהֲרֹן) “הַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינֵי ה'“ “אִם שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה אֵין לְךָ לְהָקֵל בְּקָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת”יח ), ווָאס לְפִי זֶה אִיז מוּבָן: א) דֶער שֶׁבַח פוּן “הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ לוֹמַר לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”, ווָארוּם מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעהַאט דִי בְּרֵירָה צוּ (מַסְכִּים זַיְין צוּ דִבְרֵי אַהֲרֹן דוּרְךְ) שְׁווַיְיגְן (אוּן שְׁתִיקָה – כְּהוֹדָאָה), אָדֶער (אֲפִילוּ) דוּרְךְ זָאגְן אַז אַהֲרֹן אִיז גֶערֶעכְט אוּן נִיט צוּ מוֹדִיעַ זַיְין אַז “לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”; ב) דֶער פְּשַׁט פוּן “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו”: דָאס אִיז גֶעווֶען דִי סְבָרָא פוּן אַהֲרֹן (מֹשֶׁה הָאט עֶס נִיט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אוֹיבֶּערְשְׁטְן) אִיז

– כָאטשׁ מֶען גֶעפִינְט אַז קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת זַיְינֶען – בְּכַמָּה דִינִים – גְלַיְיךְ צוּ קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה – וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ ווִי רַשִׁ”י הָאט מְפָרֵשׁ גֶעווֶען פְרִיעֶריט בַּא פַּרְשַׁת פֶּסַח מִצְרַיִם אַז כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה דִינִים (אָבֶּער נִיט אַלֶע) – אִיז אַזוֹי אוֹיךְ בַּא פֶּסַח דּוֹרוֹת

אִיז בַּא דֶעם דִין, אַהֲרֹן'ס פְּסַק “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” פוּן מֹשֶׁהכ.

A Different Understanding of Rashi’s Words


The difficulty in the present verse that required Rashi to offer a commentary and, particularly, the commentary he chose, stems from the fact that the words “and it found favor in his eyes” appear superfluous. What novel matter are they teaching us? It is obvious that, in a simple physical sense, Moshe heard what Aharon told him, as stated in sec. 2 above. Accordingly, it is implicit that the meaning of the word וַיִּשְׁמַע in the additional phrase, “And Moshe heard,” is the same meaning as the derivations of that word in the verses, “You heeded ( שָׁמַעְתָּ ) the voice of your wife,”35 and “They did not know that Yosef understood ( שׁוֹמֵעַ ),”36 et al. i.e., hearing means understanding and accepting the words spoken.37 Thus, the intent is that Moshe accepted Aharon’s words.


דִי שְׁווֶערְקַיְיט דָא אִין פָּסוּק (ווָאס דֶערְפַאר זָאגְט רַשִׁ”י דָא בִּכְלַל אַ פִּירוּשׁ וּבִפְרַט – דֶעם פִּירוּשׁ) אִיז אִין דֶעם, ווָאס דִי ווֶערְטֶער “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” זַיְינֶען לִכְאוֹרָה אִיבֶּערִיק – דְּמַאי קָמַשְׁמַע לָן,

סְ'אִיז פָּשׁוּט אַז מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעהֶערְט ווָאס אַהֲרֹן הָאט אִים גֶעזָאגְט (כַּנַּ”ל סְעִיף ב) – אִיז בְּמֵילָא מוּבָן אַז דֶער טַיְיטשׁ פוּן דֶער הוֹסָפָהוַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה” – עַל דֶּרֶךְ פוּן “שָׁמַעְתָּ לְקוֹל אִשְׁתֶּךָ”כא, “וְהֵם לֹא יָדְעוּ כִּי שׁוֹמֵעַ יוֹסֵף”כב וּבְכַמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת – הֲבָנָה אוּן קַבָּלָהכב* (אָננֶעמֶען) פוּן דִי רֵייד, דָאס הֵייסְט אַז בַּיי מֹשֶׁה'ן הָאבְּן זִיךְ אָנְגֶענוּמֶען אוּן נִתְקַבֵּל גֶעווָארְן דִבְרֵי אַהֲרֹן, דָאס הֵייסְט דֶער זֶעלְבֶּער תּוֹכֶן פוּן “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” – הַיְינְט ווָאס זָאגְט דֶער פָּסוּק בַּאזוּנְדֶער “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו?”

This same implication is found in the words, “it found favor in his eyes.” It is therefore necessary to say that “it found favor in his eyes” comes to add a further point that could not be derived from the words, “Moshe heard,” vayishma Moshe, that Rashi understands as meaning, “Moshe accepted.” The addition of the phrase “it found favor in his eyes” indicates that not only did Moshe accept Aharon’s words, they evoked a further response. The question then arises: What is the additional and new development to which this phrase alludes?

מוּז מֶען זָאגְן אַז “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” קוּמְט מוֹסִיף זַיְין (אוֹיף “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה”): אַהֲרֹן'ס רֵייד זַיְינֶען בַּיי מֹשֶׁה'ן נִיט נָאר נִתְקַבֵּל גֶעווָארְן, נָאר עֶס אִיז גֶעווֶען אַ הוֹסָפָה וְחִידּוּשׁ (אִין תּוֹכֶן פוּן) “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” – אִין ווָאס קֶען זִיךְ אוֹיסְדְרִיקְן אַזַא הוֹסָפָה וְחִידּוּשׁ אוּן ווָאס קוּמְט דֶער פָּסוּק דֶערְמִיט מַדְגִּישׁ זַיְין אוּן דֶערְצֵיילְן?

Rashi explains that with the words vayishma Moshe, the Torah is implying that in addition to merely accepting Aharon’s words, Moshe valued them so much – “[they] found favor in his eyes” – that “he said,”38 i.e., he told39 them to others.

זָאגְט רַשִׁ”י אַז דֶער פָּסוּק מֵיינְט דֶערְמִיט אַז “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה” אִיז גֶעווֶען – נוֹסָף אַז בַּא עֶם זַיְינֶען דִי רֵייד נִתְקַבֵּל גֶעווָארְן, זַיְינֶען זֵיי עֶם אַזוֹי שְׁטַארְק גֶעפֶעלְן גֶעווָארְן (“וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו”) – אַז עֶר הָאט עֶס גֶעזָאגְטכג “לוֹמַר”כד – אוֹיךְ צוּ אַנְדֶערֶע

Rashi also relates Moshe’s praise, saying, “[Moshe] acknowledged [Aharon’s words] and was not ashamed to say ‘I did not hear [this law].’ ”40 Moshe publicly made known that “I did not hear [this law]” even though there was no necessity for him to do so. It would have been sufficient for him to acknowledge and agree with Aharon’s conclusion.

אוּן דֶערְצֵיילְט אוֹיךְ שְׁבָחוֹ שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה אַז “הוֹדָה וְלֹא בוֹשׁ לוֹמַר לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”: עֶר הָאט מוֹדִיעַ וּמְפַרְסֵם גֶעווֶען אַז “לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי”כה, כָאטשׁ אַז דָאס אִיז נִיט גֶעווֶען נוֹגֵעַ צוּם עֶצֶם הָעִנְיָן, אוּן עֶס ווָאלְט גֶעווֶען גֶענוּג ווֶען עֶר אִיז מוֹדֶה וּמַסְכִּים צוּ דַעַת אַהֲרֹן.

Where Anger Can Lead


According to the above – that Rashi’s words should be interpreted according to their straightforward meaning, i.e., that Moshe said, “I did not hear [this law]” – we can understand why, here, Rashi does not offer the same interpretation as he offers in Parshas Mattos, i.e., “Since Moshe was aroused to a state of anger, he came to err.”41

Because the distinction between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion and sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time is a matter dependent on logic – and logically, there is a possibility for accepting either approach42 – here, according to the straightforward meeting of the verse, Rashi is not compelled to state so novel a concept, that it was possible for Moshe to be aroused to a state of anger and, therefore, to err.


עַל פִּי זֶה (אַז דֶער פִּירוּשׁ אִין רַשִׁ”י אִיז כִּפְשׁוּטוֹ, אַז מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעזָאגְט לֹא שָׁמַעְתִּי) אִיז מוּבָן ווָאס רַשִׁ”י אִיז דָא נִיט מְפָרֵשׁ ווִי אִין פַּרְשַׁת מַטּוֹת, אַז בָּא לִכְלַל כַּעַס בָּא לִכְלַל טָעוּת: ווִיבַּאלְד אַז דֶער חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת אוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה אִיז אַ זַאךְ ווָאס אִיז תָּלוּי בִּסְבָרָא, אוּן אִין שֵׂכֶל אִיז דָא אַן אָרט פַאר בֵּיידֶע סְבָרוֹתכו,

אִיז דָא (פְּשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא –) רַשִׁ”י נִיט מוּכְרָח צוּ זָאגְן אַ חִידּוּשׁ הֲכִי גָדוֹל אַז בַּא מֹשֶׁה'ן אִיז שַׁיָיךְ “(בָּא לִכְלַל כַּעַס) בָּא לִכְלַל טָעוּת”.

By contrast, in Parshas Mattos, we are forced to say that Moshe’s arousal to a state of anger caused him to err. As mentioned, this is a truly novel concept. It also raises a question why his anger caused him to err specifically in that instance.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן אִין פַּרְשַׁת מַטּוֹת ווָאס דָארְט אִיז מוּכְרָח אַז דֶער “וַיִּקְצֹף” פוּן מֹשֶׁה'ן הָאט אִים גֶעבְּרַאכְט לִידֵי טָעוּת – אַ חִידּוּשׁ גָּדוֹל, כַּנַּ”ל (אוּן עֶס ווֶערְט אוֹיךְ אַ שְׁאֵלָה פַארְווָאס הָאט דַוְקָא דֶער כַּעַס גֶעבְּרַאכְט לִכְלַל טָעוּת)

Therefore, commenting on that verse, Rashi continues and explains, “A similar incident” – i.e., a similar novel incident albeit in a different context – “happened on the eighth day of the dedication [of the Sanctuary] as it is written,43 ‘He [Moshe] became angry…’ ” Once we are forced to say that according to the straightforward meaning of Scripture, Moshe’s being “aroused to a state of anger” could cause him “to err,” we can now also explain that this is what happened on the eighth day of the dedication. Moshe’s anger prevented him from realizing the distinction between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion and sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time.44 Although Aharon understood this distinction effortlessly, because of his anger, Moshe did not.45 Why Moshe and Aharon Differed

דֶערִיבֶּער אִיז רַשִׁ”י מַמְשִׁיךְ דָארְט “וְכֵן (דֶער זֶעלְבֶּער חִידּוּשׁ) אַתָּה מוֹצֵא בַּשְּׁמִינִי לַמִּלּוּאִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּקְצֹף מֹשֶׁה כו'“, נָאכְדֶעם ווִי סְ'אִיז מוּכְרָח בִּפְשׁוּטוֹ שֶׁל מִקְרָא אַז צוּלִיבּ דֶעם ווָאס “בָּא מֹשֶׁה לִכְלַל כַּעַס בָּא לִכְלַל טָעוּת” קֶען מֶען שׁוֹין אוֹיךְ מְפָרֵשׁ זַיְין אַזוֹי בַּשְּׁמִינִי לַמִּלּוּאִים, אַז דֶער וַיִּקְצֹף הָאט גוֹרֵם גֶעווֶען אַז דָאס ווָאס עֶר הָאט נִיט גֶעוואוּסְט דֶעם חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה וְקָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹתכו* (כָאטשׁ אַז בַּא אַהֲרֹן אִיז עֶס גֶעווֶען בִּפְשִׁיטוּת) – אִיז גֶעקוּמֶען מִצַּד כַּעַסכז.

7. The following is one of the insights described as “the wine of the Torah”46 embedded in Rashi’s commentary:


מִיֵּינָהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה בְּפִירוּשׁ רַשִׁ”י:

Since the difference of opinion between Moshe and Aharon was dependent on logic, it is necessary to understand:

a) Why was Moshe inclined to think that there is no difference between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion and those to be offered for all time, and why was Aharon inclined to think that there is a distinction between them?

b) Originally, Moshe maintained that there is no difference between these two types of sacrifices, and he was so certain regarding this point that – when he saw that Aharon’s sons conducted themselves differently regarding sacrifices to be offered for all time and refrained from eating them – he became angry. What made him change his mind when Aharon told him – without bringing any proof – that such a distinction should be made47 and to undergo such a radical reversal of opinion that Aharon’s interpretation found favor in his eyes?48

ווִיבַּאלְד אַז דִי חִילּוּקֵי דֵעוֹת צְווִישְׁן מֹשֶׁה אוּן אַהֲרֹן אִיז אַן עִנְיָן הַתָּלוּי בִּסְבָרָא – דַארְף מֶען פַארְשְׁטֵיין: א) פַארְווָאס הָאט סְבָרַת מֹשֶׁה נוֹטֶה גֶעווֶען אַז סְ'אִיז נִיטָא קֵיין חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת אוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה, אוּן דִי נְטִיָּה פוּן סְבָרַת אַהֲרֹן אִיז גֶעווֶען אַז סְ'אִיז דָא אַ חִילּוּק? ב) ווִיבַּאלְד אז מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעהַאלְטְן אַז סְ'אִיז נִיטָא קֵיין חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת אוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה, אוּן דָאס אִיז גֶעווֶען מִיט אַזַא וַדָּאוּת אַז זֶעעֶנְדִיק ווִי זֵיי הָאבְּן זִיךְ נוֹהֵג גֶעווֶען אִין דִי קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת נִיט ווִי קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה אוּן זֵיי הָאבְּן זֵיי נִיט גֶעגֶעסְן אִיז “וַיִּקְצֹף וגו'“ – פַארְווָאס הָאט זִיךְ בַּיי אִים גֶעבִּיטְן דִי סְבָרָא בְּשַׁעַת עֶר הָאט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אַהֲרֹן אָן קֵיין רְאָיָה אַז מְ'דַארְף מַאכְן אַ חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת מִיט קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָהכז* אוּן אַ שִׁינּוּי גָּדוֹל בִּיז אַז “וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו”כח ?

It is possible to explain these issues by focusing on the inner, spiritual dimension of the matter.49 The difference between the spiritual motifs personified by Moshe and Aharon are reflected in the statement of the Midrash,50 Chessed, ‘kindness,’ this is Aharon…. Emes, ‘truth,’ this is Moshe.”

One of the differences between truth and kindness is that truth is eternal, never changing. It remains the same in every time and in every place,51 continuing with absolutely no variation of degree or intensity. By contrast, kindness – which is characterized by doing good for another person – requires continuous adaptation. Its expression must vary according to the situation and the ways it must be fitted to each of its varied recipients, for they are not identical. Moreover, whenever kindness is dispensed, there is a difference between the beneficence as it exists in its potential state within the giver and the manner in which it is conveyed to a recipient, as indicated by our Sages’ statement,52 “You, [G‑d,] bestowed upon them [an abundance of] good beyond their capacity to receive.”

וְיֵשׁ לוֹמַר דֶעם בִּיאוּר (בִּפְנִימִיּוּת הָעִנְיָנִים)כח* :

דֶער חִילּוּק צְווִישְׁן מֹשֶׁה מִיט אַהֲרֹן'עֶן אִיז, ווִי עֶס שְׁטֵייט אִין מִדְרָשׁכט, “חֶסֶד זֶה אַהֲרֹן . . וֶאֱמֶת זֶה מֹשֶׁה”. פוּן דִי אוּנְטֶערְשֵׁיידְן צְווִישְׁן אֱמֶת אוּן חֶסֶד: דֶער עִנְיָן פוּן אֱמֶת אִיז אַז עֶס זַיְינֶען אִין אִים נִיטָא קֵיין שִׁינּוּיִים – אִין יֶעדְן זְמַן אוּן אִין יֶעדֶען מָקוֹם שְׁטֵייט עֶר בְּשָׁוֶהל, אִין דֶער זֶעלְבֶּער מַדְרֵיגָה אוּן אִין דֶעם זֶעלְבְּן מַעֲמָד וּמַצָּב. חֶסֶד אָבֶּער, ווָאס עִנְיָנוֹ אִיז מַאכְן גוּט צוּ אַנְדֶערֶע מוּז מֶען דָאךְ זִיךְ רֶעכְנֶען מִיט דֶעם צוּשְׁטַאנְד אוּן דְרָכִים פוּן יֶעדֶערְן פוּן דִי בַּאזוּנְדֶערֶע מְקַבְּלִים ווָאס אֵינָם שָׁוִים זֶה לְזֶה. נָאכְמֶער – בַּא יֶעדֶער עֲשִׂיַּת חֶסֶד צוּ אַ צְווֵייטְן אִיז דָא אַ שִׁינּוּי וְחִילּוּק אִין דֶער הַשְׁפָּעָה ווִי זִי אִיז בַּאם מַשְׁפִּיעַ אוּן ווִי זִי ווֶערְט נִמְשָׁךְ צוּ אַ צְווֵייטְן, וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ מַאֲמַר רַזַ”ללא הִשְׁפַּעְתָּ עֲלֵיהֶם (רוֹב) טוֹבָה אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין לַעֲמוֹד.

Because of the above distinction, the tendency of Moshe – who is identified with the attribute of truth – was that in every situation where there is a doubt, the ruling should remain unchanged, regardless of the differences between one time and another. Therefore, in the instance at hand, he maintained that there should be no distinction between sacrifices to be offered for all time and those to be offered only on one occasion. The same holiness that applies to sacrifices offered in a one-time situation applies regarding the holiness of those offered for all time.

אוּן דֶערִיבֶּער אִיז נְטִיַּת סְבָרַת מֹשֶׁה, מִדַּת הָאֱמֶת, אַז בְּכָל עִנְיָן ווָאס עֶס אִיז דָא אַ סָפֵק – פַּסְקֶ'נֶען אַז עֶס אִיז נִיטָא קֵיין שִׁינּוּי פוּן אֵיין זְמַן אוּן מַעֲמָד וּמַצָּב בִּיז אַ צְווֵייטְן. דֶערִיבֶּער בְּנִדּוֹן דִּידַן – הָאט עֶר גֶעהַאלְטְן אַז סְ'אִיז נִיטָא קֵיין חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת אוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה: דִי זֶעלְבֶּע קְדוּשָּׁה ווָאס אִיז דָא “בְּשָׁעָה” (זוּ), אִין דֶעם זֶעלְבְּן אוֹפֶן דַארְף זַיְין דִי קְדוּשָּׁה לְ”דוֹרוֹת”.

By contrast, the approach of kindness identified with Aharon dictates a different approach. Aharon “love[d] peace and pursue[d] peace, love[d] the created beings and drew them close to the Torah.”53 He devoted himself to the entire Jewish people, even to those in the category of “created beings,”54 bestowing kindness upon them all, each one according to his situation and level.55 Therefore, he saw a distinction between sacrifices to be offered only on one occasion and those to be offered for all time.

When looking from the perspective of the recipients – those to whom it is necessary to show kindness and for whom sacrificial offerings are necessary – it is impossible to require that the same degree of holiness continue unabated in the same manner and with the same strength on every diverse level and in every time.

מִצַּד בְּחִינַת חֶסֶד אָבֶּער, מַדְרֵיגַת אַהֲרֹן, ווָאס זַיְין עִנְיָן אִיז גֶעווֶען “אוֹהֵב שָׁלוֹם וְרוֹדֵף שָׁלוֹם אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וּמְקָרְבָן לַתּוֹרָה”לב, עֶר הָאט זִיךְ אִיבֶּערְגֶעגֶעבְּן צוּ אִידְן בִּיז צוּ אַזֶעלְכֶע ווָאס זַיְינֶען אִין סוּג פוּן “בְּרִיּוֹת” אוּן זֵיי מַשְׁפִּיעַ גֶעווֶען יֶעדְן לוֹיט זַיְין דַרְגָּא וּמַצָּבלג – דֶערְפַאר הָאט עֶר גֶעזֶען אַז סְ'אִיז דָא אַ חִילּוּק צְווִישְׁן “קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה” אוּן “קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת”: מִצַּד הַמְקַבְּלִים, דִי ווָאס דַארְפְן אָנְקוּמֶען צוּם (חֶסֶד, צוּם) קָרְבָּן וְקָדָשִׁים קֶען מֶען נִיט מָאנֶען אַז דִי קְדוּשָּׁה זָאל זַיְין אִין דֶעם זֶעלְבְּן אוֹפֶן וְתוֹקֶף אִין אַלֶע שִׁינּוּיֵי דַרְגּוֹת אוּן זְמַנִּים.

A Mystical Correspondence


The above concepts correspond to the mystical concept of Moshe’s role and rung as “the one who accompanies the King” and that of Aharon as “the one who accompanies the queen,”56 i.e., the Jewish people. Moshe’s mission was to convey G‑dliness to the Jewish people, while Aharon’s mission was to bring them closer to G‑d.


דֶער עִנְיָן הַנַּ”ל אִיז מַתְאִים צוּ דֶעם ווָאס מַדְרֵיגַת מֹשֶׁה אִיז “שׁוֹשְׁבִינָא דְמַלְכָּא” אוּן אַהֲרֹן – “שׁוֹשְׁבִינָא דְמַטְרוֹנִיתָא”לד :

The perspective of Moshe, “the one who accompanies the King,” focuses on the King and communicates His intent,i.e., drawing down G‑dliness to the Jewish people from Above to below.57 According to that approach, the G‑dly light is drawn down in a uniform manner and manifests itself on this lowly plane in the same manner as it is manifest in the lofty spiritual level of the World of Emanation, Atzilus, without any distinction. This characterized Moshe’s Divine service on this lowly plane, drawing down G‑dliness as it is manifest Above and revealing it to the Jewish people.

מִצַּד מֹשֶׁה שׁוֹשְׁבִינָא דְמַלְכָּא, (הִתְעַסְּקוּת – בְּמַלְכָּא) וּ”גְדָרָיו”, ווָאס אִיז מַמְשִׁיךְ אֱלֹקוּת אִין אִידְן מִלְמַעְלָה לְמַטָּהלה, ווֶערְט דֶער אוֹר נִמְשָׁךְ לְמַטָּה אַזוֹי ווִי עֶר אִיז לְמַעְלָה (אִין אֲצִילוּת) אָן חִילּוּקִים – אוּן אַזוֹי אִיז גֶעווֶען אוֹפֶן עֲבוֹדָתוֹ לְמַטָּה אִין דֶער הַמְשָׁכַת אֱלֹקוּת ווָאס עֶר הָאט מַמְשִׁיךְ גֶעווֶען צוּ אִידְן.

Aharon, “the one who accompanies the queen,” was characterized by a different focus, involvement with the queen, i.e., comprehending the perspective of the Jewish people and elevating them to a higher level. The possibility of such an ascent is dependent on the situation and spiritual level of the Jewish people as a whole and of every individual Jew. Therefore, this Divine service involves change and variation according to the particular situation of each individual Jew on this lowly plane.58

מִצַּד בְּחִינַת אַהֲרֹן שׁוֹשְׁבִינָא דְמַטְרוֹנִיתָא (הִתְעַסְּקוּת – בְּמַטְרוֹנִיתָא) וּ”גְדָרֶיהָ”, ווָאס אִיז מַעֲלֶה כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִלְּמַטָּה לְמַעְלָה, אִיז דִי הַעֲלָאָה תְּלוּיָה אִין דֶעם מַצָּב אוּן מַדְרֵיגָה פוּן אִידְן, אוּן דֶערִיבֶּער אִיז אִין דֶער עֲבוֹדָה דָא שִׁינּוּיִים לְפִי עֶרֶךְ הַמַּצָּב פוּן דֶעם מַטָּהלו.

Can There Be Relative Eternity?


Nevertheless, Moshe learned from Aharon’s words. After he heard that the Divine service of the Jews in this world, the World of Action, Asiyah, involves change and variation, and that the Divine service and the holiness involved in a one-time event is not the same as that which is ongoing, then “Moshe heard, and it found favor in his eyes.” He accepted Aharon’s perspective. From this we can understand that this approach became valid not only from the standpoint of Aharon (the attribute of kindness), but also from the standpoint of Moshe (the attribute of truth).59


אַף עַל פִּי כֵן נָאכְדֶעם ווִי מֹשֶׁה הָאט גֶעהֶערְט פוּן אַהֲרֹן אַז מִצַּד עֲבוֹדַת הַנִּבְרָאִים אִין עוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה (– עוֹלָם הַזֶּה), זַיְינֶען דָא שִׁינּוּיִם אוּן סְ'אִיז נִיט גְלַיְיךְ דִי עֲבוֹדָה אוּן קְדוּשָּׁה פוּן “שָׁעָה” אוּן “דוֹרוֹת”, אִיז “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” – עֶס אִיז נִתְקַבֵּל גֶעווָארְן אוֹיךְ בַּא מֹשֶׁה, אוּן פוּן דֶעם אִיז פַארְשְׁטַאנְדִיק אַז נִיט נָאר אִיז דָאס אוֹיסְגֶעהַאלְטְן מִצַּד בְּחִינַת אַהֲרֹן – חֶסֶד, נָאר אוֹיךְ מִצַּד בְּחִינַת מֹשֶׁה – מִדַּת הָאֱמֶתלז.

The above can be explained by focusing on a related concept in our Divine service:

In Tanya,60 the Alter Rebbe discusses the Divine service of the beinonim, “the intermediates,” the spiritual level to which every person can aspire, stating that even though there are fluctuations in their love for G‑d, “with regard to the level of the beinonim, it can truly be termed perfect service according to the individual level of truth appropriate for the beinonim, each person according to his level.”

The Alter Rebbe makes this statement even though “when compared to the level of the tzaddikim who are genuinely true servants of G‑d, the love manifest by the beinonim cannot be termed true service at all, since it lapses and fades away after prayer, as it is written, ‘The lips of truth shall be established forever, but the tongue of falsehood is only momentary.’ ”61

דֶער בִּיאוּר בְּזֶה: ווֶעגְן עֲבוֹדַת הַבֵּינוֹנִים, זָאגט עֶר אִין תַּנְיָאלח, אַז דִי אַהֲבָה זֵייעֶרֶע אִיז “לְגַבֵּי מַדְרֵגַת הַבֵּינוֹנִים נִקְרֵאת עֲבוֹדָה תַּמָּה בֶּאֱמֶת לַאֲמִתּוֹ שֶׁלָּהֶם אִישׁ אִישׁ כְּפִי מַדְרֵגָתוֹ בְּמַדְרֵגַת הַבֵּינוֹנִים”, כָאטשׁ אַז “לְגַבֵּי מַדְרֵגַת הַצַּדִּיקִים עוֹבְדֵי ה' בֶּאֱמֶת לַאֲמִתּוֹ אֵין בְּחִינַת אַהֲבָה זוֹ נִקְרֵאת בְּשֵׁם עֲבוֹדַת אֱמֶת כְּלָל מֵאַחַר שֶׁחוֹלֶפֶת וְעוֹבֶרֶת אַחַר הַתְּפִלָּה וּכְתִיבלט שְׂפַת אֱמֶת תִּכּוֹן לָעַד וְעַד אַרְגִּיעָה לְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר”:

The Alter Rebbe’s statements require clarification. Truth is absolute and unchanging. Therefore, the perfect and genuine conception of truth exists only in G‑dliness, as it is written,62 “G‑d your L‑rd is true.” In and of itself, it is impossible that there be another aspect of truth in the world, since all the matters in the world are creations that were brought into existence from nothingness and will eventually cease to exist. If we find an aspect of truth in created beings, it is only because “the truth of G‑d [shines] to the world.”63 The truth found within a created being is relative. As stated in Tanya, loc. cit., at a higher level, it would not be considered truth. However, the existence of this relative truth is possible only because the eternal truth of G‑dliness exists and shines forth within created beings.

דֶער עִנְיָן פוּן אֱמֶת (בְּתַכְלִית) אִיז דָא בְּלוֹיז אִין אֱלֹקוּת, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּבמ “וַהֲוָיָ' אֱלֹקִים אֱמֶת”, אִין ווֶעלְט מִצַּד עַצְמוֹ קֶען נִיט זַיְין קֵיין עִנְיָן פוּן אֱמֶת, הֱיוֹת אַז אַלֶע עִנְיָנֵי הָעוֹלָם זַיְינֶען נִבְרָאִים הֹוִים וְנִפְסָדִים; אוּן אַז מְ'זֶעט אֱמֶת אִין נִבְרָאִים – הֲגַם אַז דִי אֱמֶת'דִיקַיְיט פוּן דֶער תְּנוּעָה אִיז נָאר לְגַבֵּי דֶער מַדְרֵיגָה אוּן נִיט לְגַבֵּי אַ הֶעכֶערֶער מַדְרֵיגָה (עַל דֶּרֶךְ הַנַּ”ל בְּתַנְיָא) – מוּז מֶען זָאגְן אַז דָאס אִיז מִצַּד “וֶאֱמֶת הֲוָיָ' לְעוֹלָם”מא – דֶעם אֱמֶת פוּן אֱלֹקוּת ווָאס עֶס אִיז דָא אוּן מֵאִיר אִין דֶעם נִבְרָא.

To cite a parallel: Many sources64 note that the command to love G‑d “with all your might,”65 uses a singular form, me’odecha. Chassidusinterprets that phrase as me’od shelcha, “your me’od. Me’od means “very much.” Thus, the command implies that one should love G‑d with a love that knows no boundaries or limits. The use of the singular implies that this love is individual in nature. Each person is commanded to reach a love that surpasses his own natural boundaries and limits. By doing so, he arouses and draws down a dimension of G‑dliness that is truly unbounded.

True, me’od shelcha implies that the person attains a level of love that surpasses merely the limits of his individual Divine service but, in of itself, his service and love have limits. Indeed, when compared to someone on a higher level of Divine service, it is actually limited. However, since the true concept of infinity and lack of limitations exists only in G‑dliness, a description of a created being or his qualities as unlimited must, by definition, be seen in a relative context.

Since created beings are inherently limited, in and of themselves, it is impossible for them to achieve service that is truly unbounded. Therefore, when a created being performs a service that is beyond his own limitations, the capacity to do so stems from a power above his own. It is connected with and derives from G‑d, Who is truly unlimited. For this reason, man’s unlimited expression of love, me’od shelcha, is a microcosm of G‑d’s true lack of limitation and arouses the expression of that dimension.

[וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ זֶה אִיז דֶער בִּיאוּר אִין דֶעם ווָאס עֶס רֶעדט זִיךְ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵרמב אַז “מְאֹדֶךָ” – מְאֹד שֶׁלְּךָ, דֶער בְּלִי גְבוּל שֶׁל הָאָדָם, אִיז מְעוֹרֵר אוּן מַמְשִׁיךְ דֶעם “מְאֹד” שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה, דֶעם בְּלִי גְבוּל הָאֲמִתִּי. כָאטשׁ אַז “מְאֹד שֶׁלְּךָ” אִיז בְּלוֹיז הֶעכֶער פוּן דֶעם גְבוּל פוּן דֶעם מֶענְטשְׁ'נְס עֲבוֹדָה, אָבֶּער מִצַּד עַצְמוֹ אִיז דָאס אַן עֲבוֹדָה (אַהֲבָה) מוּגְבֶּלֶת; אוּן לְגַבֵּי אֵיינֶעם ווָאס הַאלְט בַּא אַ הֶעכֶערֶער עֲבוֹדָה אִיז דָאס טַאקֶע אַן אַהֲבָה מוּגְבֶּלֶת מַמָּשׁ – אָבֶּער ווִיבַּאלְד אַז דֶער עִנְיַן הַבְּלִי גְבוּל אִיז בְּלוֹיז אִין אֱלֹקוּת, מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן נִבְרָאִים ווָאס זַיְינֶען בְּעֶצֶם מוּגְבָּלִים קֶען בַּיי זֵיי נִיט זַיְין (מִצַּד עַצְמָם) אַ תְּנוּעָה פוּן בְּלִי גְבוּל – אִיז דֶערְפַאר, בְּשַׁעַת סְ'אִיז דָא בַּיי אַ נִבְרָא אַ תְּנוּעָה (אַן עֲבוֹדָה) ווָאס אִיז הֶעכֶער פוּן זַיְין מְדִידָה וְהַגְבָּלָה, אִיז דָאס פַארְבּוּנְדְן אוּן נֶעמְט זִיךְ פוּן אוֹיבֶּערְשְׁטְן ווָאס עֶר אִיז בְּלִי גְבוּל הָאֲמִתִּי. אוּן מֵהַאי טַעְמָא אִיז דֶער “מְאֹדֶךָ”, מְאֹד שֶׁלְּךָ, אַ מֵעֵין פוּן בְּלִי גְבוּל הָאֲמִתִּי אוּן אִיז מְעוֹרֵר דֶער מְאֹד שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה].

Looking From a Higher Plane


Based on the above, the same reasoning can be employed in understanding the subject under discussion:

Distinguishing between the appropriate service and level of holiness between matters that apply on one occasion and those that apply for all time (Aharon’s approach), is a perfect and genuine approach in Divine service. It is an expression of “the truth of G‑d” which shines forth to the Jew as he exists in a particular situation and state at a given time.


וְעַל פִּי זֶה אִיז אוֹיךְ מוּבָן בְּנִדּוֹן דִּידַן: דֶער חִילּוּק הָ(עֲבוֹדָה אוּן) קְדוּשָּׁה פוּן “שָׁעָה” אוּן “דוֹרוֹת” אִיז דָאס אַן עֲבוֹדָה בִּשְׁלֵימוּת וּבַאֲמִתִּית, פוּן דֶעם אֱמֶת הֲוָיָ' ווִי עֶר אִיז מֵאִיר אִין דֶעם מַצָּב וּמַדְרֵיגָה פוּן דֶעם אִידְן ווִי עֶר אִיז בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה.

All the above applies regarding “the truth of G‑d” becoming manifest in the world, i.e., as it shines forth to created beings on their level. However, Moshe’s level was “the truth of G‑d” as it is manifest in Atzilus,66 which transcends “the truth of G‑d” that shines forth to created beings. Therefore, on his own, Moshe did not perceive the distinction between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion and sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time.

דָאס אִיז אַלְץ ווִי דֶער אֱמֶת ה' אִיז “לְעוֹלָם” וּבָעוֹלָם – מֵאִיר אִין נִבְרָאִים, אָבֶּער מַדְרֵיגַת מֹשֶׁה אִיז דֶער אֱמֶת ה' פוּן אֲצִילוּתמג, ווָאס אִיז הֶעכֶער פוּן (דֶעם אֱמֶת ה' ווִי עֶס אִיז מֵאִיר אִין) נִבְרָאִים. אוּן דֶערִיבֶּער אִיז בַּא אִים מִצַּד עַצְמוֹ נִיט גֶעווֶען דֶער חִילּוּק פוּן קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה אוּן קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת.

The Lesson Aharon Taught Moshe


By saying, “Moshe heard, and it found favor in his eyes,” the Torah is teaching that Aharon brought about a change in the outlook of Moshe, whose perception reflected the attribute of truth of Atzilus, enabling him to distinguish between sacrifices that were commanded to be offered only on one occasion and sacrifices that were commanded to be offered for all time.


פוּן דֶעם אָבֶּער ווָאס “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” אִיז מוּבָן, אַז דוּרְךְ אַהֲרֹן הָאט זִיךְ אוֹיפְגֶעטָאן אַז אוֹיךְ מִצַּד בְּחִינַת מֹשֶׁה, מִדַּת הָאֱמֶת פוּן אֲצִילוּת, אִיז אַ חִילּוּק צְווִישְׁן “קָדְשֵׁי שָׁעָה” אוּן “קָדְשֵׁי דוֹרוֹת”.

As is well-known, the ultimate inner intent of the World of Atzilus is to make possible Divine service and the revelation of G‑dliness to created beings in this lowly world.67 Thus, there are two dimensions within the World of Atzilus: a)the world as it exists from its own perspective, which transcends created beings, and b) the intent of that world, as it perceives that it exists for the sake of the World of Asiyah, and more specifically, for the sake of created beings in our material world.

אִיז דֶער בִּיאוּר אִין דֶעם: סְ'אִיז יָדוּעַ אַז דֶער תַּכְלִית וּפְנִימִיּוּת הַכַּוָּנָה פוּן עוֹלַם הָאֲצִילוּת, אִיז צוּלִיבּ דֶער עֲבוֹדָה וְגִלּוּי אֱלֹקוּת אִין נִבְרָאִים לְמַטָּהמד. דָאס הֵייסְט אִין אֲצִילוּת אִיז דָא צְווֵיי עִנְיָנִים: אֲצִילוּת מִצַּד עַצְמָהּ, ווָאס אִיז הֶעכֶער פוּן נִבְרָאִים; מִצַּד אִיר כַּוָּנָה, ווָאס עֶס הֶערְט זִיךְ ווִי זִי אִיז בִּשְׁבִיל עוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה.

Correspondingly, there are two dimensions within Moshe: one as he exists for himself, reflecting the attribute of truth of Atzilus, which transcends the distinctions that exist in created beings and in truth as it applies to them, and one that Aharon engendered within Moshe. Aharon served as “the one who accompanies the queen,” whose mission was to elevate the Jewish people by “lov[ing] created beings and draw[ing] them close to the Torah,” the Torah of Moshe. He revealed the ultimate Divine intent, and how it is connected with this lowly physical plane, the World of Asiyah. This is the inner intent of the truth of Atzilus – that its attributes exist for the sake of revelation to created beings on this physical plane. When “Moshe heard, and it found favor in his eyes,” this became the perspective of Moshe (Atzilus) in a manifest manner.68

אוּן דָאס אִיז דִי צְווֵיי עִנְיָנִים אִין מֹשֶׁה: מֹשֶׁה (מִדַּת אֱמֶת דַּאֲצִילוּת) מִצַּד עַצְמוֹ הֶעכֶער פוּן דִי חִילּוּקִים פוּן (אֱמֶת פוּן) נִבְרָאִים; אַהֲרֹן אָבֶּער מִצַּד הֱיוֹתוֹ שׁוֹשְׁבִינָא דְמַטְרוֹנִיתָא, כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל – בִּיז “אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וּמְקָרְבָן לַתּוֹרָה” – תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה הָאט מְגַלֶּה גֶעווֶען דִי כַּוָּנָה (ווָאס אִיז פַארְבּוּנְדְן מִיטְ'ן מַטָּה וְתַחְתּוֹן, ווָאס זִי אִיז דִי כַּוָּנָה) פְּנִימִית פוּן דֶעם אֱמֶת פוּן אֲצִילוּת, אַז עִנְיָנָהּ אִיז צוּלִיבּ דֶעם גִּילּוּי אִין נִבְרָאִים לְמַטָּה. וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה “וַיִּשְׁמַע מֹשֶׁה וַיִּיטַב בְּעֵינָיו” – דָאס אִיז גֶעווָארְן עִנְיָנוֹ שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה (בְּחִינַת אֲצִילוּת) בְּגִילּוּימה.

Wearing Bifocals


There is a lesson from the above that relates to every person’s Divine service:

When focusing on our own spiritual striving, we must strive to ensure that our Divine service is constant, without change. Just as, “I, G‑d, have not changed,” so too, “you, the descendants of Yaakov,”69 must be enduring and unalterable. However, when relating to another Jew, including even one who is only a “created being,” i.e., one whose only virtue is that he is G‑d’s creation,70 we must invest ourselves and appreciate that other person’s standing and situation, realizing that not all times are the same. We cannot begin working with and helping another person, and how much more so, we cannot reach out to one whose level is that of a “created being,” and demand and require of him to continually remain on the same level of holiness as he attains during moments of inspiration or the like.


דִי הוֹרָאָה פוּן דֶעם בַּעֲבוֹדַת כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד: בְּשַׁעַת עֶס רֶעדט זִיךְ ווֶעגְן זַיְין אֵייגֶענֶע עֲבוֹדָה דַארְף בַּא אִים זַיְין עֲבוֹדַת ה' אָן שִׁינּוּיִים, אַזוֹי ווִי “אֲנִי ה' לֹא שָׁנִיתִי”, אַזוֹי דַארְף אוֹיךְ זַיְין בַּא “וְאַתֶּם בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב”מו. אָבֶּער בְּשַׁעַת עֶס קוּמְט צוּ טָאן מִיט אַ צְווֵייטְן אִידְן, בִּיז אוֹיךְ מִיט “בְּרִיּוֹת” דַארְף עֶר זִיךְ אַרַיְינְטָאן אִין יֶענֶעמְס מַעֲמָד וּמַצָּב אוּן ווִיסְן אַז לֹא כָּל הַזְּמַנִּים שָׁוִים, עֶר קֶען נִיט אָנְהֵייבְּן זַיְין טָאן אוּן הֶעלְפֶען דֶעם זוּלַת וְעַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה – “בְּרִיּוֹת” מִיט דֶעם פָאדֶערְן אוּן דְרִיקֶען אוּן מָאנֶען בַּיי דֶעם צְווֵייטְן אַז עֶר זָאל שְׁטֶענְדִיק זַיְין אִין דֶער זֶעלְבֶּער מַדְרֵיגַת הַקְּדוּשָּׁה ווִי אִין זְמַנֵּי רָצוֹן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה.

When involving ourselves with other Jews – including even those who are “created beings,” and investing ourselves in them within the context of their immediate standing and circumstances – we enable them to eventually recognize that “the truth of G‑d is everlasting,” because it is the immutable truth stemming from “ I, G‑d, have not changed.”71

Bringing about the awareness of G‑dly truth to other people will also bring about perfection in the truth that exists within the person who is involved with them.

אוּן בְּשַׁעַת עֶר טוּט מִיט אַנְדֶערֶע אִידְן בִּיז אוֹיךְ מִיט אַזוֹינֶע ווָאס זַיְינֶען “בְּרִיּוֹת בְּעָלְמָא”מז, בְּאוֹפֶן אַז עֶר אִיז זִיךְ מִתְלַבֵּשׁ אִין זֵייעֶר מַעֲמָד וּמַצָּב, דֶעמָאלְט פּוֹעֵלְט עֶר סוֹף־סוֹף אַז אוֹיךְ בַּא זֵיי זָאל דֶערְהֶערְט ווֶערְן דֶער “אֱמֶת ה' לְעוֹלָם”, דִי בְּחִינָה פוּן “אֲנִי ה' לֹא שָׁנִיתִי”מח אוּן דָאס פּוֹעֵלְ'ט אוֹיךְ דִי שְׁלֵימוּת אִין דֶער בְּחִינַת אֱמֶת ווָאס אִיז בַּא אִים,

When “kindness” – the sensitivity to a person’s immediate situation taught by Aharon – “and truth” – the eternal, immutable relevance of Moshe’s teachings – “meet, justice and peace [will] kiss,”72 leading to the fulfillment of G‑d’s ultimate intent, His desire for a dwelling in the lower realms.73

בְּשַׁעַת “חֶסֶדמט וֶאֱמֶת נִפְגָּשׁוּ צֶדֶק וְשָׁלוֹם נָשָׁקוּ”נ, אוּן עֶס פִירְט זִיךְ אוֹיס דֶער “נִתְאַוָּה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִהְיוֹת לוֹ דִּירָה בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִיםנא.

Likkutei Sichos, Volume 17, p. 109ff.
Adapted from a sichah delivered on Shabbos Parshas Shemini, 5729 [1969]

(משיחת ש״פ שמיני תשכ״ט)
לקוטי שיחות חלק יז שמיני ג