Shlomo Ezagui

Your own unique mission. Truth or kindness

Ugne Vasyliute

“Kindness and truth have met; righteousness (charity) and peace have kissed. Truth will sprout from the earth, and righteousness will look down from heaven.”
– Psalms 85:11–12

The commentators explain the above verse in the following way. When people are truthful, they elicit kindness from heaven, and the two meet. This combination of truthfulness and kindness takes pure justice and turns it into peace, which draws even more righteousness and tzedakah (“charity”) from heaven.

The Midrash says that Aaron, Moses’s older brother, represents kindness, while Moses represents truth. Unfortunately, “truth,” as vital as it is, is not welcome in this world, for it is a world of falsehood. For that reason, “truth” recommended that God not create this world. On the other hand, the measure of kindness recommended that God create the world since “kindness” is also relevant in a place filled with deceit and lies.

Moses — because of his particular virtue and character, truth in the purest sense — was aloof, distant from the common people and the world at large; therefore, when he passed away at the age of 120, the community did not feel his loss. When Aaron died at the age of 123, “the entire house of Israel” mourned him because he was marked by kindness and thus associated with deception even in places and with people.

Because of his virtue of truth, Moses was the intermediary between the God of truth and this world. Only Moses could receive instructions from God to transmit them to Aaron. Moses could never communicate with a person like King Pharaoh, the King of the lewdest and lascivious country of the time. With his virtue of kindness, Aaron reached low enough to communicate the message to King Pharaoh.

Aaron was the spokesperson for Moses and received all his knowledge and wisdom from Moses, the only one who could receive it himself from God. All Israelites recognized this dynamic, as was the fact that all instructions came from Moses. Yet, when Moses passed away, it did not make the same impression on the Israelites as did the passing of Aaron, who was connected to everyone.

But these two extraordinary virtues are not mutually exclusive.

God chose Moses as the leader of His special nation because of Moses’s absolute commitment to truth, which was his hallmark; yet, Moses, as a shepherd, demonstrated kindness and mercy even toward a weak goat, which deeply impressed God.

Aaron was kind and had a unique talent for making peace between warring groups, but he never gave up on the “truth” and was always clear about the boundaries set by the Torah. When reaching out to the common people, it is necessary to bring them closer to the Torah of truth rather than the other way around.

Moses was more emphatic in his truth; therefore, he could connect with God to bring Godliness down to the world. Because he was stronger in kindness, Aaron could better connect with all the people.

Everyone has God-given abilities that enable them to carry out the specific missions they were sent to this world. Trying to mimic someone else only confuses the plan and complicates the person’s life; it ensures you will miss your mark.

We learn from the lives of Moses and Aaron the significance of discovering one’s unique strengths and Divine purpose and contributing those strengths to make the world a better place.

Chapter 298

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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