Everyone is an expert. Especially in today’s world with Google available to tell us anything we need to know. I always found it fascinating how parents are experts on teaching even though they never took a course in teaching. In a similar way, we are all medical experts without having gone to medical school.
In the beginning of this week’s Torah reading B’haaloscha, the Torah gives instructions for how to light the Menorah and tells us that Aharon did so, just as Hashem commanded Moshe. Rashi comments that this is a praise of Aharon in that he didn’t change anything and did it exactly as he was told. This seems a bit strange. What is the big deal that Aharon lit the Menorah the way he was supposed to?
The Dubno Maggid answers this with a parable. There were 3 people who were very ill with the same illness. They went to an expert doctor who gave them medicines and instructions for how to take them. The first guy did everything he was told and got better. The second guy knew a little about medicine and decided to investigate the medicines he was given. He took the medicines he recognized and the ones he felt were not regular medicine, he chose not to take. A short time later he died from his illness. The third person also knew medicine, and also chose to investigate the medicines he was given. However, unlike his friend he still took the ones he didn’t recognize, relying on the expertise of the doctor even though it didn’t make sense to him. He also recovered.
Similarly, we find with observance of Mitzvos there are some people who just do the Mitzvos without seeking to understand them. Others seek to understand the reasons for Mitzvos and will only do Mitzvos they can relate to or feel makes sense to them. The third type of people recognize that Hashem has infinite wisdom. They perform the Mitzvos and although they still seek to understand the purpose of the Mitzvah, they do not base their performance of Mitzvos on whether they understand it or not.
Aharon did as he was commanded without questioning the meaning or the method of the Mitzvah. That is worthy of praise and is the goal we strive for.
Rabbi Shaps and the JET Team