This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
The 40th Labor
A painter bends close to a canvas, peering intently. A writer crouches over a keyboard. A sculptor scratches minute lines and ridges in stone. Each dab of the brush, each keystroke, each scrape of the chisel is executed with utmost concentration, as the artist pours his very soul into the action.
Standing at the burning bush, Moses balked. He had every right to.
His life had finally taken on some semblance of normalcy. He was no longer an Egyptian prince or a fugitive on the run. He was now the son-in-law of a respected theologian, having recently married the priest of Median's daughter, and he had a stable job.
Taking on this new mission would mean shaking up, if not endangering, his life. Why should he go to Egypt to rescue the Hebrews?
Transcendence through Prayer
Among the garments Aaron wore as High Priest, there was one suspended from shoulder-straps. Two onyx stones were engraved with the names of Jacob's twelve sons, and these stones were placed on the shoulder-straps, so that "Aaron shall bear their names before G‑d on his shoulders for a memorial."
In petitioning G‑d, in prayer, we are to be mindful not only of our personal individual needs; we do not pray in the singular. Note the plural used through the prayer book: Bless us, Heal us, Redeem us, Grant us. Beyond the humbling function of prayer in reminding man of his obligations and true importance, Jewish worship is designed to help us see outside ourselves. In the sacred moment when we stand "before G‑d" Himself, at the time of our most sublime feelings when none disturb us, when man is at the highest plane he can achieve, then we must remember others. Aaron was not the only one addressed in that passage.