Today is May 22, 2024 -

Congregation Sha'arey Israel

A Conservative Jewish Congregation serving the spiritual needs of the Middle Georgia Jewish community since 1904

611 First Street, Macon, GA 31201
Phone: (478) 745-4571

Aaron Lights the Lamps

There are moments when
if you’re paying attention — you realize that the Torah portion of the week is speaking to you personally as well as to the kehilla of Central Georgia. This coming shabbat (June 10) we chant From Beha’alotecha (Numbers, chapter 8:1 through 12:16). As this portion opens, God tells Moses to instruct his brother, Aaron: When you ascend the steps to the lamps, lets the seven lamps give light at the front of the Menorah.
Among Aaron’s daily tasks was to tend do the daily lighting of the menorah. And then the Torah gives us s seemingly throw-away phrase: Aaron did so. So ordinary, why write it? What does this teach us?
Here’s a gem from the Vilna Gaon (1720-1797, Poland and Vilnius)—day after day, year after year, Aaron’s attitude never changed. His work never became routine or boring. He approached each day with the same sense of reverence he brought to his first day.
As I write these words, a new rav is assuming the pulpit at Temple Beth Israel. And as fate would have it, both of Macon’s shuls are being served right now by a rav named Aaron. I’m thinking that’s a rare harmonic convergence, and I sense a positive ripple in the Force 🙂
The Torah’s opening words tell us—Macon’s rabbis—that our daily project is about bringing light to our Jewish community, as well as to our Abrahamic brothers and sisters. And the great sage, Hillel, the Elder (110BCE-10 CE, Babylonia and Jerusalem) teaches us that Aaron loved peace and pursued peace, loved people and drew them close to Torah.
My personal prayer: may the brother of Moses continue to guide both rabbis Aaron, and may each of aspire to light the lamps, to draw people close, to share torah, and to tend the paths of peace with our brothers and sisters in Abraham.
Lastly, my heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Rabbi Schlesinger and his family. May God continue to bless the works of your hands.