Rabbi Herschel Rader

Words from Sinai – A Torah Insight for Shabbat

Having been passed over for a position of leadership within his tribe, Moses’s cousin rebelled against him. In particular, he challenged the appointment of Aaron to the position of High Priest. After the rebellion was subdued a contest took place. The leader of each of the twelve tribes was invited to leave a staff inscribed with his name in the Sanctuary. Whosoever staff blossomed would be confirmed as the High Priest. The next day Aaron’s staff had miraculously blossomed and produced ripe almonds.

Why almonds? In comparison with other fruit, almonds grow and ripen very quickly. Wouldn't it have been a greater miracle if G‑d had caused the staff to bear a fruit which ordinarily takes a longer time to develop?

An important function of the Cohanim, the priests, is to bless the people. This still takes place in our Shuls on various festivals. The miraculous almonds symbolised these blessings which we wish to flow to us from Hashem without delay.

Unlike us, Cohanim were totally dedicated to Divine Service. Although we live our lives in the ‘real world’ let us all strive to find the ‘Cohen within’; dedicating some of our talent and energy to a Higher purpose and, instantly, receiving life’s blessings from above.

Shabbat Shalom


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