Shabbat Shmini

Rosh Hodesh Iyar Sunday and Monday
Friday, April 13 - Candles @ 7:13 pm
April 14th - Havdalah @ 8:09 pm

The two sons of Aaron were killed when they attempted to intervene in the ceremony of the dedication of the Tabernacle. Moses tried to comfort his brother. The Torah says “Vayidom Aharon.” Which is translated almost by every commentator as "Aaron remained silent." Silent in the face of this tragedy. And in one way this is consistent with his character. Remember he did not get worked up or emotional over the Golden Calf. He listened, and he did what he believed was the right thing to do under the circumstances. But he was passive.

The Head of my Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Rav Hayim Shmulevitz, ז״ל had a different version. The Hebrew word Dom, can indeed mean silent. But it can also mean blood. Aaron’s blood, in other words, was boiling. He was angry, emotional, even if he did not argue with Moses or God.

Sometimes remaining silent, being a Stoic, is not the right response. Sometimes one should get angry. One should. One needs to scream, to cry out against abuse or injustice and express one’s pain. There is a Midrash that criticizes Job for remaining silent and not crying out against the unfairness of his suffering, his loss.

The lesson is that we have a moral obligation and a spiritual obligation to say something, to cry out when we feel pain or see something wrong. When actions that strike us as unacceptable. Even if we may not be able to do anything about it, still, silence may be the only response sometimes but it is not always right. Either personally or communally.


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