| Parshah |

Same Here

Different leaders have different tasks. They are wired differently to meet different challenges. And we need all kinds


“And Moshe and Aharon went into the Ohel Moed. Then they came out and blessed the people, and the glory of Hashem appeared to all the people.”

(Vayikra 9:23)

was the eighth day of the inauguration of the Mishkan, which followed intense preparation. Laws were studied and reviewed, the Mishkan was built, everyone purified themselves, got dressed up, and eight days of inauguration took place. Then it was Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Everything had finally come together… but it didn’t work! Nothing happened! Imagine the disappointment and anticlimactic emotions that Klal Yisrael must have felt.  They’d given their gold, their jewelry, and their sweat to this moment, and it didn’t work. It was as if Hashem had ignored the whole project (Rabbi Yaacov Haber, TorahLab).

My apartment building is a prime example of kibbutz galuyos. My husband and I are the only Americans. We have neighbors from France and Brazil, who speak five languages perfectly. Our neighbors cover the spectrum of chassidim, Lita’im, and Sephardim, all housed in our mini united nation.

Generally, we each go our own way with a nod, a smile, sharing simchahs and mishloach manos, but our lives don’t intersect that often.

Then Moshe entered the Ohel Moed to investigate. He spoke to Aharon — we don’t know exactly what they said — and they came out of the Ohel Moed hand in hand. And then everything started to happen. They blessed the people together, the people saw the glory of Hashem, a fire came down from Heaven and consumed the sacrifices, the people sang praises to Hashem, and fell on their faces and prayed. It worked! They’d found the missing piece. All the technicalities had been in place except for one thing: Moshe and Aharon had to come together. They were partners, two halves of a whole that needed to connect. When they embraced, the circuit was completed. The goal was achieved.

A while back, our neighborhood was shaken up by tragedy when an entire family who had lived across the street was killed in a car accident. Our close proximity to the family shook us each to the core. We neighbors decided that although we may not have known or been friends with this family, it behooved us to do something as a zechus for their neshamos. So we women decided that every Friday night after lichtbentshen, we’d get together to say all of Sefer Tehillim.

Sometimes one neighbor hosted, other times a different one. Some women brought their children, babies, or older daughters, and after a minute or two of schmoozing, we’d each take a chelek of Tehillim and keep going until it was done. And then we’d say the yehi ratzon.

Moshe and Aharon were partners with two very different job descriptions. Moshe’s job was to bring Hashem to the people; Aharon’s job was to bring the people to Hashem. Hashem and the people had to meet halfway — in the Mishkan. With all the individual greatness of Moshe and Aharon, they were each walking with one leg. Together they created a model for partnership that had the ability to bring forth the Shechinah, and it’s a model we must follow.
Different leaders have different tasks. They are wired differently to meet different challenges. And we need all kinds. Yet if each department head in Klal Yisrael works in a vacuum — if we work in a vacuum — the Shechinah will never join us. Moshe and Aharon are the model we must follow to bring peace and Shechinah into the world.

When I said the yehi ratzon, I said it in my Americanized Hebrew. When my Sephardi neighbor would say it, the Hebrew rolled off her tongue in a melodious contrast to mine. And when my Rachmistrivka neighbor took a turn, I barely understood the familiar words, as the nekudos were completely different from what I was used to.

But it didn’t matter. The words of Dovid Hamelech were the same. We were gathered there for the same reason, and our kavanos were identical. And somehow, as we finished, wished each other gut Shabbos, and went to our respective homes, we felt more the same than our visible differences would indicate.

May that feeling in my apartment building be a zechus for the real kibbutz galuyos.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 888)

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