Joods Maastricht

Website van de Joodse Gemeente Maastricht

Moses and Aharon

We can define the the seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot as the period of the birth of the Jewish People. Till the exodus from Egypt people the precursors of the Jews, They became a People after the exodus on the 50st day, to be exact, when the Jews received from G'D the Torah and the tradition, the written and the oral Torah at Mount Sinai.


Normally the most important common denominator of a people is the land of residence. We are Dutch because we all live in the Netherlands. The position of the Jewish people is a different one. Our feature of union is Torah, Judaism. That is why today Israel calls itself the Jewish. In the Balfour Declaration Israel is also associated  to the Jews who live elsewhere may have never been in Israel nor ever had any plans to to go there.

Who provided support to the birth of Jewish Nation? The great leader Moses. He went to Mount Sinai, The assumed the leadership over the Exodus and the Torah got his name – de Torah of Moses - תורת משה- and from פרקי אבות- the Sayings of the Fathers- we learn: משה קבל תורה מסיניWhat is Torah? Everything received by Moses on Mount Sinai from G’d.



Nevertheless we see many times that Moses' brother Aharon, the High Priest appeared! Why is does a dual leadership exist during the exodus from Egypt, during the birth of the Jewish people?

The simple explanation is that Moses was not very elonquent and that therefore Aharon became his spokesman. But G’d being the creator of everything he could have cured the speech impediment of Moses. So the question remains: Why were there two leaders, Moses and Aharon,  during the exodus form Egypt?


We learn form the Talmud: Do not settle in the town where Asha, a Jewish Scholar, is the leader. What does that mean? Do I have to live in a town which is in the hands of an am ha’arets, an ignoramus, a fool? The Talmud answers immediately: when the mayor is a great scholar, he will probably not pay any attention for what is going on, for the petty sorrows of his community members, because he reasons too much from a theoretical point of view, without taking account of daily practice.


G’d followed Torah and he created the world. The Torah is the blueprint of the Creation. Moses is the man of Torah, the G’dly and perfect theory. He look at the world form Torah and Tradition and instructed how it should be.

Aharon was on the contrary a practical man. He lived among men and had a keen eye for their personal problems. He was always looking for answers that complied with Law but at the same time were adapted to the more specific needs: Jewish tailor-made law!

We are not supposed to live in a town where the leader is a great scholar, a theorist. A leader should not look at society from an idealistic and theoretical point of view alone, but he should have an eye for the limitations harsh reality brings us. We expect solutions inside the framework of the Jewish Law, Biblical possibilities and taking account all kind of risks…….

Whether we are talking about a rabbi or any other spiritual leader of whatever denomination or an administrator, they must take care of society from the de Moses – Aharon approach, know what should be and at the same time to be able to translate the norm to daily practice in kosher way. That is leadership!

This obligation given by G’d, is valid for all people on G’ds earth. The commandment to judge is on of the seven Noachidic Laws, that apply to the whole of Mankind.


Now Yo might think that you are not a judge or a leader. 

Wrong! Everybody is a leader from time to time, as a parent as the oldest child, as a chief of a department as a teacher or a member of parliament....

How wonderful would society be when especially Members of Parliament, or better politicians in general will learn from this universal lesson.


Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs,


Ijar / Siwan 5778