Aaron and Me

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aaronI’ve long accepted that it is highly unlikely I will become enlightened in this lifetime. But although I do not aspire to the level of Being of a Moses, I do try to emulate his brother Aaron. Moses “communicated directly with God”, and the Bible says he “did not speak well” – which I take to mean that he was on such a high level he could not transmit his knowledge in a way that ordinary people could comprehend. So Aaron “spoke for him”. Aaron was not on Moses’ level, but Aaron’s task was to listen to what Moses said and ‘bring it down a notch’ into language that the Israelites could understand. He was the mediator. As a writer (whether writing about science, philosophy, or spirituality), my forte has always been the ability to take intricate ideas (not my own ideas by any stretch of the imagination) and rework them into more accessible language. I hope that in this way I have been, and will continue to be, useful. According to Jewish tradition, Aaron was a great peacemaker – and this is why (despite being the sculptor of the Golden Calf!) he was chosen as Israel’s first priest. I take this mediator role in two ways, both of which I aspire to emulate: (1) Aaron would supposedly work with angry people, and help them find peace and harmony with each other, and (2) his work as Moses’ ‘voice’ brought harmony between the level of Moses and the level of the Israelites – in a symbolic way, between ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’. Tomorrow, following in Aaron’s very big footsteps, I will be ordained – not as a ‘priest’, but as an interfaith minister. (I also find it interesting and perhaps fortuitous that Aaron’s ‘flaw’ was passivity, which I also struggle with, and my Hebrew name is ‘Aaron’.)

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Lots more about Moses and Aaron in my book SYMBOLS, MEANING, AND THE SACRED QUEST: Spiritual Awakening in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Stories