Parshas Shemini

(Based on Zera Shimshon Shemini aleph pg. 17)

On the possuk (9/2) And you should take a calf the son of cow for a chattasRashi explains, “to show, by this calf, that Hashem forgave Aharon for the incident of the Golden Calf”.

Zera Shimshon asks HOW does the fact that Aharon brought a calf for his sin offering (chattos) show that Aharon was forgiven for his part in the Golden Calf?

He answers in light of the Gemorro in Rosh HaShona (26A) that explains that the reason that the Cohen Gadol doesn’t serve with gold garments on Yom Kippur is because “an accuser cannot be the defender”. Meaning, since the Golden Calf was made of gold (the accuser), one shouldn’t wear gold when asking pardon from Hashem (defender) .

Therefore, explains Zera Shimshon, the fact that Hashem commanded Aharon to bring a sin offering of a calf, which was obviously a major part of the sin of the Golden Calf, shows that he did not sin with the Golden Calf. (According to this explanation, the word “forgave Aharon” doesn’t mean that Aharon sinned and Hashem pardoned him but rather it means that Hashem determined that Aharon wasn’t considered to be a part of the sin)

It still has to be understood, though, why wasn’t Aharon held responsible for his part in the Golden Calf? After all he did build it for them!

One explanation Zera Shimshon gives is that Hashem didn’t consider Aharon’s part as integral. He merely caused it to be done.

In a second explanation Zera Shimshon goes one step farther. Aharon was not only not an integral part in that avairo but he actually had virtuous intentions and intended to do a mitzvah!

When Moshe came down from Har Sinai later than mistakingly expected, the people came to Aharon and asked him to build for them an idol.

Aharon reasoned that the request itself, independent of it being implemented or not, is already a thought of avodah zaro. As opposed to most sins that Hashem punishes only when we do a physical action, concerning worshipping Avodah Zora, Hashem punishes one even on the thought of it.

In such a bad state of mind, Aharon held that it would only be detrimental for Bnei Yisoel to recieve the Torah. The Torah cannot rest in such an environment (minds full of thoughts of Avodah Zora) and would cause us to do many many more sins.

Aharon was also of the opinion that even Moshe wouldn’t be able to help them repent.

Aharon understood that the people felt that since they didn’t DO anything wrong, (they only thought to worship the idol) then they would (mistakingly) feel that there is no reason for them to do teshuva.

Aharon therefore helped them to build the calf in order for them to realize how wrong they actually were and subsequently to do proper teshuva.

This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of the learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should find her zivug hagun soon along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel waiting to get married and build a family.

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