A Taste of Torah – Parshas Vaera

Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman

Be All That You Can Be

In the next few parshiyos two main characters are repeatedly mentioned, Moshe and Aaron. Rashi questions the way the Torah presents each of them. Sometimes, the text has Moshe’s name preceding Aaron’s, and other times Aaron’s name comes first. Rashi recognizes that the person who is mentioned first is the primary person for that action or event and more honor is being attached to that individual. He goes on to explain that since Moshe and Aaron take turns with being mentioned first, this teaches us that the two of them are equal in stature. However, when one carefully examines the roles that these two individuals played, it is clear that Moshe is the main leader appointed by G-d to take the Jews out of Egypt and was definitely on a higher level than Aaron. Therefore, what does it mean that they are equal?

Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, explains it is true Moshe was on a greater spiritual level than Aaron. For example, Moshe spoke with G-d directly, a spiritual level that no other human being has ever reached. However, Rashi’s interpretation of the significance of the presentation of the order of the name does not contradict this, but instead, explains a fundamental principle in understanding the greatness of every individual. His point is that each individual is given his/her own unique capabilities that he/she has to bring to use in this world. It is not about how we measure up to others. Aaron may not have been on the same spiritual level as Moshe, but he lived up to his capabilities and what G-d asked of him to do in this world. Therefore, they are equally great in reaching their own potential.

This a great lesson in life for parents and educators. We have to look at every child and student with their individual strengths and what they uniquely bring to the table. As we recognize that individuality, we will truly see the greatness in every person.

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