Aharon’s Turnaround by Nachi Farkas


After discussing the Bigdei Kehunah, the priestly garments, Parashat Tetzaveh discusses Aharon’s and his sons’ induction into the Kehunah.  The Torah describes this as a very strange procedure.  Aharon was to come to the Mishkan with a bull and two rams.  They would be sacrificed and the blood of one ram would be put onto Aharon’s right earlobe and the earlobes of his sons.  Then the blood would be put on the big toes of their right feet and their right hands’ thumbs.  The blood and oil would then be taken and sprinkled on their heads and subsequently their garments would be holy.  As with other bizarre ritual procedures, such as those of the Parah Adumah, the red cow, and the Mei Sotah, the water drunk by a woman suspected of adultery, there must be a reason behind this eccentric ritual.

The Otzar Midrashim, quoting the Midrash HaBiur, states that this grotesque ritual was a Tikun, a correction, for Aharon’s actions at Har Sinai.  The feet that walked up Har Sinai and yet, after 40 days, didn’t stop the sin of the Eigel HaZahav, and the ears that heard the Aseret HaDibrot and yet listened to the nation’s request to build a golden calf need a Kaparah.  The sons of Aharon will have to follow suit.

The Rambam in Hilchot Teshuvah writes that doing complete repentance requires regretting the sin.  This is exactly how this ritual works.  By inducing shame and self-inspection, directed at the very parts of the body that sinned, this procedure perfectly prepares Aharon to be the Kohen Gadol as he now has done a complete Teshuvah.  We, like Aharon, must perfect our body by regretting our sins, enabling our Teshuvah.  May we be Zocheh to be as successful as he was.

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