26 Jun 2015 The Mountain of the Man
In this week’s parsha, Parshas Chukas, Aharon, the Kohen Gadol, dies.
And Hashem said to Moshe, “Take Aharon, and Elazar his son, and ascend with them up to הֹר הָהָר – the Mountain of Hor; and you shall strip Aharon of his (priestly) garments, and you shall dress Elazar his son, and Aharon will be brought in and he will die there; And Moshe did as Hashem commanded, and they ascended Mount Hor before the eyes of the entire assembly” (Num.20:25-27).
Something interesting emerges when we consider Aharon’s name and the mountain whereupon he died and was buried. If we look at Aharon’s name, we see the name of the mountain embedded within: אַהֲרֹן – הֹר הָהָר.
What is the Torah coming to teach us, since nothing in the Torah is “by accident”?
Aharon had a dual role. He was a lover and pursuer of peace who brought men closer to each other. He was also the spiritual leader of the people, the Kohen Gadol. He brought man closer to his Father in Heaven.
Aharon stood with his feet in this world as he cultivated peace and dealt with the people, while at the same time, he reached upwards towards the heavens, as the spiritual leader, the High Priest.
אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי, אֶל-הֶהָרִים — מֵאַיִן, יָבֹא עֶזְרִי – I will lift my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? (Ps. 121:1). R’ Aryeh Levine zt’l, the saintly tzadik of Jerusalem, once posed a piercing question. Why do we speak of mountains? Why not raise our eyes higher, set our sights and aspirations to the moon and stars?
R’ Aryeh answered as follows: “The moon and the stars are in the heavens, whereas a mountain stands on the ground and reaches upward. That is what Hashem wants from us – that we should stand firmly on the ground and be involved with the people around us, while at the same time He wants us to strive to reach (upwards to) the heights of Heaven.”
This was Aharon HaKohen. He stood on the ground, always involved with those around him – while at the same time, he strove ever higher, reaching upwards towards G-d.
How befitting that he was buried on הֹר הָהָר – “the mountain of the mountain” or perhaps we can say – “the mountain of the man” אַהֲרֹן – an everlasting tribute to the leader and person that he was. Aharon, a mountain of a man.
We – each one of us – must be firmly rooted “down here”, amongst the people, while we continuously strive to reach higher heights in our avodas Hashem. For if we climb long enough, hard enough, and with much determination, fortitude and inner strength, perhaps we may just reach the summit…
I will lift my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come?
In the spirit of Aharon, I wish you all a peaceful Shabos.