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The making of an important book - Behaalotecha

Monday, 17 June, 2019 - 1:44 pm

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Why do people go to work every day?

An interesting study found that 90% of the people would continue to work even if they won the lottery. Why? Because the human being needs to fulfill him or herself.

This week’s Parasha Behaalotcha, begins with the commandment to Aharon, The High Priest, to light the Menorah every morning. Our Sages explain that this commandment was given to him after Aharon felt distressed and disappointed. At the inauguration of the Altar in the Mishkan, (Tabernacle), all the leaders of the 12 tribes brought offerings, except for Aharon… G-d reassured him that he had a different and important role, to light the Menorah every day.

Why was Aharon distressed? He was a righteous and humble man. This feeling certainly did not stem out of jealousy…

Everyone comes to the world with an important role. We need to do what we can to fulfill it correctly. When we succeed, we feel an incredible joy and fulfillment. On the other hand, if we fail, we feel distress and internal weakness. As if something essential was taken out from us. 

G-d reassured Aharon that his role was not lost. There was something special that only he could do, the lighting of the Menorah.

500 years ago, in Cracow, Poland, Rabbi Moshe Isserles, known as the Rama, started his life’s endeavor, a book where he would collect and organize all the laws which were scattered in the entire Talmud and the rabbinical books. In the middle of the writing, he received a similar work written by Rabbi Yosef Karo in the Ottoman Empire. A book which was exactly what the Rama wanted to do himself.

The Rama describes how shaken he was: would all his efforts be in vain? What he felt was not anger but disappointment. The Rama did not try to stop the publishing of the other book. He simply felt internally weak, empty that his role, the work of this life, was taken away from him.  

Finally, the Rama found a solution. He took he book of Rabbi Yosef Karo, which included all the laws and the customs of the Sefaradim and added the customs and variations of the Ashkenazim where they differ. The final result was better. This book, the Shulchan Aruch, is now found in all Jewish libraries around the world.

Each one of us has an important role in our world. Whoever wants to fulfill it, receives G-d’s held and succeeds. But we need to do the first step.

What is your role?

Shabbat Shalom,

Hanna

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