How come Aharon wasn’t killed? Wasn’t he the one who led the people astray in making the eigel?
Mr. Margolis asks: Why wasn’t Aharon put to death when the Am Yisroel was punished for making the eigel? Didn’t he lead them astray?
You know sometimes there are two kashehs and the meforshim say, חדא מתורצת בחברתא – the first kasheh is answered by the second one. And therefore, you yourself answered the question. The fact that Aharon was not killed demonstrates that Aharon did not have anything to do with making the eigel.
Aharon was only to blame for not stopping it from being made. He was playing a delaying tactic. You know, Aharon was not like Moshe. Moshe came down and right away he smashed the luchos and he took steps to execute them. Aharon on the other hand was a softer person — he was a man of peace. That’s why, by the way, when Aharon died it says that the whole people wept thirty days. When Moshe died it says the people wept thirty days – it doesn’t say the whole people. Look in the chumash, you’ll see that. For Moshe it says ויבכו בני ישראל but for Aharon it says, כל בני ישראל. So although Moshe Rabbeinu really was the savior of the Jewish nation, but they didn’t weep so much for him because he was strict. For Aharon everybody wept. So we see people appreciate more somebody who is a little easygoing. It’s a fact.
Now, Aharon didn’t want to make too much trouble so he tried a delaying action. First, when he heard that the people demanded an eigel, so he thought, “I’ll ask them to contribute.” That’s not a bad thing by the way. If somebody comes up with a wild idea, don’t just say, “No.” Say, “Alright – will you give the money for it?” That usually spoils the plan. So Aharon says, למי זהב – Does anybody has money? התפרקו – unload it. Let’s see your money.”
But it just happened that for the wrong thing they were too enthusiastic and they came running. So Aharon said, חג לה’ מחר. He said, “Let’s start tomorrow.” He pushed it off. But tomorrow got out of hand because tomorrow a few thousand of the recent converts who came from Egypt, they took over.
Now when a convert or a baal teshuva comes to the Jewish people, he has to know that he has to be a follower – he has to listen. But sometimes a baal teshuva comes in and he takes over. Right away he wants to teach all the old-time Jews how to be real Jews! He knows better! So what does he do? He follows the models that he formed in the gentile world or in the non-religious world. It happens.
Here’s a man who comes into the shul finally. He was not in a shul for many years and finally he decided to join a shul. He walks in. “The place is dead,” he says. “We have to put some life into this place!” So the first thing, “Let’s raise money – a night for chevra mishnayos, ‘A Night of Stars.’ A true story! He planned ‘A Night of Stars’ for the chevra mishnayos. And all the people come. Every week the president is announcing, “Buy tickets! A big mitzvah – ‘A Night of Stars.’” And they all come down in a big hall to help the chevra mishnayos. And they’re sitting with yarmulkas, some Jews with beards, and they’re all looking. Who comes prancing out on the stage? I can’t tell you. Oy! A finster finesse! For the chevra mishnayos! Because this fellow, he has his ideas how to put life into Judaism.
And so these converts, they know how to put life into ceremonies. They knew what you do from when they were Egyptians. You dance! They know how to dance. And so, ויקמו לצחק – They got up to dance and make merry. It got out of hand.
When Aharon saw that, he knew it was very bad; he knew it was trouble. But was too late already. And therefore, Aharon is blamed. He’s blamed for being too mild; but his intentions were good. He didn’t make anything. And that’s why Aharon surely wasn’t put to death because by no means was Aharon an accomplice.
TAPE # 30 (August 1973)