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    The Torah in

    Parashat Maseh

    b r i e f l y

    mentions the

    death of Aharon

    H a ’ k o h e n ,

    noting that he

    passed away on Rosh Hodesh Ab – a

    day which always falls around the

    time of the Shabbat when we read

    Parashat Maseh.

    The Mishna in Masechet Abot

    instructs us to “be among the students

    of Aharon Ha’kohen, who loved

    peace, pursued peace, loved people,

    and drew them close to Torah.”

    Aharon distinguished himself

    specifically in the area of peaceful

    relations among people. It is therefore

    appropriate that we read about his

    passing during this period of year,

    when we mourn the destruction of the

    Bet Ha’mikdash, which was the result

    of Sin’at Hinam (hatred among Jews).

    Aharon represents the diametric

    opposite of Sin’at Hinam, as he

    pursued peaceful relations with all

    people, and his example is one which

    we must follow in order to correct the

    mistake that caused the Jewish

    Nation’s exile.

    However, the Mishna speaks not only

    of Aharon’s devotion to peace, but

    also of his efforts to bring his fellow

    Jews closer to Torah observance:

    “loved people, and drew them close to

    Torah.” The Mishna uses here the

    word “Beriyot” (“people”), which

    refers to people on the lowest spiritual

    levels. The word “Beriya” literally

    means “creature” – something that

    was created. A “Beriya” is thus a

    person whose only achievement is the

    fact that he was created, who has not

    accomplished anything more than

    simply existing. Aharon truly loved

    even the Beriyot. He was genuinely

    devoted to all his fellow Jews, and

    rather than reject or ignore the

    “Beriyot,” he loved them and worked

    with them in an effort to inspire them

    to grow.

    This quality, too, is something we

    must try to emulate as we seek to

    become worthy of the end of the exile

    and the rebuilding of the Bet

    Ha’mikdash. The name of this month

    – “Ab” – is spelled “Alef,” “Bet.” The

    word “Alef” means “to teach,” and the

    letter “Bet” represents the word

    “Bina” –wisdom. After a person

    learns and acquires knowledge, he

    bears the responsibility of sharing his

    knowledge with other people. This

    must be one of our goals during this

    period of mourning – to commit

    ourselves to spreading Hashem’s

    word and positively influencing our

    fellow Jews. This is the time to

    redouble efforts to pursue peace, to

    love all Jews regardless of their

    religious background, regardless of

    whether they are more, less, or just as

    observant as we are, and make every

    effort possible to inspire and uplift

    other Jews so they will draw closer to