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    Imitating Aaron – B’ha’alot’cha

    This week’s portion enumerates the duties of Aaron the High Priest.

    Other kohanim should imitate his ritual efficiency; every Jew should emulate his character.

    In Pir’kei Avot 1:12 we are told to be like Aaron, “loving peace and pursuing peace, loving one’s fellow creatures and bringing them near to the Torah”.

    What an interesting series of verbs. Aaron loved peace and pursued it; he loved people and brought them near to the Torah.

    Why doesn’t the text use the same set of verbs (“love” and “pursue”) about people as it does concerning peace? Why not say, “Love people and pursue them”?

    With regard to peace, Aaron went after it. The more elusive it was, the more he followed it.

    People were different. People weren’t elusive. They didn’t need to be pursued and found: they were there all around him. What he had to do was to go up to all the people he met and bring them the word of Torah.

    Not like street-corner evangelists in Diaspora countries who push themselves forward and force their beliefs on the passer-by, but lovingly showing everybody a warm example of friendship with man and God.

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