In one of the most famous comments of Rashi on this week's Parsha, Rashi notes that Aharon was depressed after watching the Nesiim bring Korbanos on behalf of their tribes. Hashem consoles Aharon by promising him, Shelcha Gedolah MiShelahem She'Ata Madlik U'Mativ Es HaNeiros. Your Mitzva is greater than theirs flashbulb you light the candles.

Why is the candles supposed to be the great Mitzva that brings Aharon consolation?

I recall hearing the late Gaon HaRav Aharon Soloveitchik ztl (in 1995) offer a fascinating insight. Rav Aharon noted that the goal of the Neiros was to bring a spark in order to have the flame come out from its own (K'Dai She'HaShalheves Yotzai Mei'Eleiha). This is in sharp contrast to a Korban which needs to be designated and brought, and, in the Nesiim's case, would never be repeated.

Rav Aharon noted that there are different events in a person's life that are uplifting -- some are what we might call flashbulb events -- they inspire. A good speaker or scholar in residence, a good shiur, a single program without followup can really get one's juices following. However, Rav Aharon added, these do not produce lasting results. It is the regular Rebbe, Rav, and teacher (or parent), who gives the student, congregant, adult or child the skills to create Torah life (and learning) on his or her own, that is successfully producing for the future -- because the real goal in chinuch is to light the spark in the other person and let the flame glow and shine brightly inside each and every one of us on its own.

Rav Aharon compared the two offerings -- that of the Nesiim and of Aharon's menorah -- to the two sanctifications of Eretz Yisroel. While that of the original conquest was done by force (as the show of the Nesiim's korbanos too, was a spiritual force), it was not to endure (kedusha rishona lo kidsha l'asid Lavo). Only the latter sanctification of the land of Israel, done with tenacity and continuity albeit without massive shows of force, only that kedusha endured.   

Our kids will go through many potentially positive religious experiences in life. Each one can become a teachable moment. However, it is only with our guidance giving them the skills and the opportunities to turn each moment of life into precious moments can their sparks be ignited and the torch of Torah be an endless flame that is never extinguished.


Shabbat Shalom