Nine Days 5777 Part II: The Avodah of Chodesh Av

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The Torah tells us that Aharon HaKohen died on the first day of the fifth month, which corresponds to Rosh Chodesh Av. Our sages explain that what occurs on a Rosh Chodesh sets the tone for the entire month. Rabbi Tzvi Meir Zilberberg of Yerushalaim, among others, writes that the power of the month of Av lies within the various kochos of Aharon HaKohen.

What exactly does that mean?

Hillel says in Pirkei Avos that we are to be like the students of Aharon, a lover and pursuer of peace, one who loves people, and strives to bring them closer to Torah. We can gain much from implementing these ideas into our lives. One koach here is taking action. Everyone in their right mind should be a lover of peace. We are not born into the world with a lust for war and violence. The message of Aharon HaKohen is to not be comfortable with the idea of peace, but one must actually be a rodef, one who chases peace. When there is strife in our midst, it should bother us until it is ultimately rectified. If we can help serve as the catalyst for Shalom, even better.

We are to love those around us. God put everything on earth in its specific purpose for a unique reason. This fact remains true althoguh we’re not always privy to the blueprints or details as to why. We are to be loving because Hakadosh Baruch Hu is a loving God and we strive to emulate him. Furthermore, an ideal promulgated by Aharon is to bring them closer to God and His Torah. I once heard from Rabbi Shaul Alter, head of the Sfas Emes Yeshiva in Yerushalaim and son of the previous Gerrer Rebbe, that although we’re not Chabad emissaries, we are all on shlichus. We Jews are to serve as aids and resources for those around us in relation to Torah. It doesn’t matter how much we know or don’t know, or how involved or uninvolved we are.

These messages of Aharon can serve as our springboard for remediating our situation today of living without a Beis HaMikdash. Had the Jewish people so many years ago clung to the ideas of Aharon HaKohen the landscape of world Jewry could be vastly different.

May we be successful in implementing the goals of loving and pursuing peace, loving the creations of God, and bringing them closer to His Torah in our own lives.

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