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.