Tuesday, February 22, 2011

making Aharon make an eigel

"Vayigof Hashem es ha'am asher a'su es ha'eigel asher asah Aharon..." Hashem brought a plague on the people who made the eigel which Aharon had made.

Why does the pasuk need to remind us that Aharon made the eigel, something we learned just a few pesukim earlier in our parsha? In fact, the pasuk seems almost self-contradictory, on the one hand speaking of the "people who made the eigel," on the other hand, speaking of the eigel, "which Aharon had made."

Ksav Sofer explains that although the eigel was the handiwork of Aharon (and of course Aharon had his cheshbonos as to why he did what he did), he did not create it in a vacuum. It was the circumstances created by the eiruv rav, by those who clamored for an eigel, which put Aharon willy-nilly into the difficult situation that led to the eigel's creation. When Hashem now comes to punish the people, he not only punishes them for the sin of worshiping the eigel, which would be bad under any circumstances, but he punishes them for dragging Aharon down as well, for causing him to be the one to make an eigel, heightening the tragedy and chilul Hashem.

Even without getting into mystical considerations like whether Aharon’s participation gave the eigel certain powers or animation, think practically of the public relations coup his participation led to. “What do you mean you don’t want to be part of the eigel movement? I have here a signed haskamah from none other than Aharon himself declaring, ‘Chag la’Hashem machar!’”

This is our society today. It’s not enough for some people to run around and advocate all kinds of nonsense, but they also have to shlep in the Aharon haKohen’s of our time, or the memory of Aharon haKohen's whom they said would condone their approach, to give themselves legitimacy. This invites one of two responses: 1) those who go ahead and worship eigels, convinced that either they are not really eigels or eigel worship is OK because there is some proclamation that sounds like Aharon haKohen sanctioned it; 2) those who wrap themselves in a mantle of righteous zealousness and use the opportunity to rip apart not eigel worship, but to rip apart our modern day Aharon haKohen’s, never once pausing to consider that there is more to what is going on than meets the eye.

1 comment:

  1. great unknown7:52 AM

    Or how about 3) While recognizing the greatness of Aharon HaKohen, realizing that he was pressured and manipulated into doing something egregiously wrong, and therefore, ignoring his "psak".

    ve'dai l'chaki b'remi