Fiery Love


The twelve-day inauguration of the Mizbaiach by the Tribal leaders had concluded. The Torah continues its ‎holy narrative with specific instructions on how to kindle the Menorah. Rashi, quoting a Tanchuma explains ‎this unusual juxtaposition. ‎

When Aharon saw the dedication offerings of the chieftains, he felt distressed over not joining them; ‎neither he nor his tribe. Hashem said to him “By your life, yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and ‎prepare the lamps”.‎


What exactly is the consolation afforded to Aharon? How does the kindling and cleaning of the Menorah ‎comfort him for the lack of enthusiasm offered by his tribe?‎


Maimonides is most famous for codifying the entire Oral Law in his magnum opus Mishneh Torah. In this ‎momentous work he condensed the complete gamut of the law into just fourteen volumes. Classically, ‎each volume has in own particular name, with the second designated as “The Book of Love”. This book ‎contains the laws of Brochos, Tefilloh, Tzitzis and other similar Mitzvohs. Why did the Rambam choose to ‎head this tome with such an attractive title?‎

My father-in-law, Dr. Yoel Jakobovits, pointed out to me a rather obscure fact. The Rambam in his ‎prologue to Mishneh Torah documented a small blurb on the contents and particular nomenclature of each ‎volume. ‎

Second book: I included Mitzvohs that occur regularly which we have been commanded in order to love the ‎Omnipresent and to remember Him constantly, for example Krias Shema, Tefilloh …. And I called the name ‎of this book “The Book of Love”. ‎

Maimonides tells us that he called this volume “The Book of Love” because it deals with commandments ‎that arise with recurring frequency. Incidentally, the Rambam has given us insight into the formation and ‎development of love. He teaches that it is the regular constant activities that breed love, and therefore for ‎an order which contains the everyday Mitzvohs ‘love’ is the most fitting label.‎

This information is heartwarming, this elusive emotion after which many people hanker is truly within ‎everyone’s grasp. It is not the generous gift of a diamond tennis bracelet that will build adoration and ‎affection. Rather it is constant giving which will do the trick: saying good morning, bringing coffee, taking ‎out the garbage etc… these giving behaviors which exhibit dependability and steadfastness to our ‎counterparts will generate true fidelity and friendship. ‎

‎(I am indebted to my father-in-law for this important piece of marital advice). ‎

We can use this idea to solve the problem of how Aharon was placated by Hashem. Aharon’s trouble was ‎that he saw all the other tribes charged with religious fervor; they were passionately inspired to inaugurate ‎the Temple, each leader had his very own day in the limelight to offer gifts on the Mizbeach. But from ‎Aharon’s own Shevet there was no showing, there was no commitment, no eagerness and no dedication. ‎It seemed to him, that from his nearest and dearest there was a severe lacking in their love of G-d or at ‎least in the exhibition thereof. Aharon was distraught. ‎

Hashem consoled him telling him not to be concerned, “Yours is greater than theirs, for you will light and ‎prepare the lamps” you have the opportunity to engender a long lasting love, this will develop in a far ‎greater measure by your constant daily activity in the Beis Hamikdash. You will switch on lights every ‎evening and clean them out the next morning. Those wonderful gifts from the others made an immense ‎loving impact but that is incomparable to the feeling that will grow out of your daily service. Yours is ‎greater than theirs.‎

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