Equal to Moshe?
There is an age old lesson hidden in the pages of this week’s Parshah, one integral to Klal Yisroel’s mission in this world. The Torah tells us, These are Aharon and Moshe, to whom Hashem said, Take out the Bnei Yisroel from the land of Mitzrayim. Here the pasuk lists Aharon first, giving the impression that he was the greater of the two brothers. Rashi brings this to light, explaining that in different places throughout the Torah we find both Moshe and Aharon placed before the other. This is to teach us that Moshe and Aharon were in fact equal. We all learn this Rashi many times, but do we stop to think about it? How can Aharon possibly be compared to Moshe? Upon Moshe’s death the Torah bears witness that no one arose like him! And similarly, Moshe is branded humbler than any man, his greatness exceeding all others. Furthermore, Hashem described Moshe’s prophecy to be of a higher level that any other prophet. All this, aside from the fact that he was our shepherd that guided us out of Mitzrayim and prepared us to receive the Torah at Har Sinai, and he - only he - who transmitted the Torah to the nation. How can it be possible, then, that the Torah could say here that Aharon was Moshe’s equal? The answer is that we must always be cognizant that a person is judged not by his total accomplishments, but by how fully he clung to his individual mission and purpose, and how close he came to reaching his own potential. Hashem does not care who does the most or who is the best, but rather only if one accomplishes his given purpose. Aharon was not his brother’s equal in total achievements, true, but he ranked right there along with Moshe when it came to his own personal mission. Aharon was given a specific job to do by Hashem, with a unique set of skills tailored to fulfill that mission. He reached a level where he maximized his potential, earning him a place alongside the greatest of men. When a person uses the gifts Hashem gave him to serve to the best of his ability, he is as great as Moshe Rabbeinu himself! This lesson is meant to encourage us and spur us on. How comforting is it to know that we are not expected to be someone else, but rather only the best we can be? Each person is given a purpose to accomplish, and that is what Hashem asks of them. One never has to look beyond the strength he has, or wonder what could have been if only he had greater abilities, because when he does his best, he is by definition doing enough. Whatever skills one has, these are the skills he needs to maximize, and no others. Of course, one should always strive further and higher, but we must not be haunted with jealousy or despair born of these thoughts. There is no reason to look anywhere else. One must work to realize the gifts he or she has, the things only they can do, and work to fulfill the mission handed to them. If you are truly doing what is expected of you, that is always enough. A gut Shabbos! A Project of the YSI Alumni Association Written by R’ Moshe Weiss