• Shoshana Horn

Parshat Be'halotecha

Step up and take responsibility. Be’Halotecha is a very important parsha to remind us all that every Jew must dedicate themselves and fulfill their responsibilities, individually and to society, with eagerness rather than as boring tasks. The parsha beings with "בהעלתך את הנרת" “When you kindle the lamps....” instructing Aharon how to light the menorah. As Kohen Gadol, Aharon wore the tziz (head plate) and had to be careful not to raise his hands above it. So he had to “step up” to light the menorah properly. Rashi emphasizes that Aharon ויעש כן אהרן kindled the menorah for 40 years that the mishkan was in the midbar. But the Torah praises Aharon that he fulfilled his obligation and responsibility with as much eagerness and dedication as the first time. It is easy to become lax in our daily obligations, from davening to studying to the end of yet another year of high school. But we must all persevere against the banality of daily life and try to inspire each other. This year showed us that every moment is precious. Who would have thought that going to school would involve testing and contact tracing. Who would have thought that being able to physically stand next to someone, without a mask, might be dangerous. Bikur cholim and listening to the megillah were done over Zoom. Large Shabbos meals, simchas, and weddings had capacity restrictions. This year taught everyone to appreciate every chance to do a mitzvah with sincerity and not saccharine obligation.

According to Mishlei 20:27, “The soul of man is a candle of Hashem” because every Jew must see to it that their individual candle shines brightly and also that another Jew’s candle is lit. We must all inspire to be like Aharon, a “lamplighter.” Aharon was “oheiv shalom verodeif shalom” — “lover of peace and pursuer of peace” (Pirkei Avot 1:12) but he was also modest despite his higher position within the community. Studying Torah, derech eretz, doing mitzvot, and helping others to be inspired to do likewise are very important directives for all of us to better ourselves as Jews and human beings. As another year of high school ends, we should all inspire each other to do more, achieve more, and influence each other to step up and be the best we can be.


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