Kenneth Cohen

And Aharon Was Silent

As a Torah educator, it was always my task to show the value of living a life of faith in G-d, along with the observance of the Mitzvot. The question that is often asked is that it is not so obvious that the observant Jew are happier. There are clearly many very fine people who do not strictly observe Shabbat or keeping kosher, and they seem to be pretty happy with their lives.

My answer is that all of that may seem to be true, but the challenge comes during times of tragedy. The man of faith has the tools to deal with such tragedies, better than one without faith.

I know this is a generality that may not always be true. But the proof of my theory is seen in Parshat Shemini, and was witnessed by the conduct of Rabbi Leo Dee, and his incredible faith in handling an unspeakable tragedy.

Aharon needed to deal with the loss of his beloved sons, Nadav and Avihu. This took place on the day of the dedication of the Mishkan. We are told, וידם אהרון, that Aharon remained quiet. He accepted his horrible fate, without questioning in any way.

Rabbi Leo Dee demonstrated incredible courage and faith, in giving comfort to a grieving nation, who all felt the pain of the loss of his beloved wife and daughters. Like Aharon, he accepted his decree without questioning. If this was Hashem’s will, as a believing Jew, he will accept it.

It takes a great deal of study and spiritual application, to get to the level where one achieves this unshakable faith. Clearly, this is a benefit of the man of convictions. He understands his role and purpose in this world.

There are no shortcuts to acquiring contentment and peace of mind. A religious way of life has numerous benefits. Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to come to the realization of our special heritage. The bottom line is that it is very special to be a Jew.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
Related Topics
Related Posts