Dvar Torah Shemini — The Reward for Silence:

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    Shemini – The Reward for Silence:

    וידם אהרן – And Aharon was silent. (Vayikra 10:3)

    In describing the depth of Aharon’s acceptance of Hashem’s judgment, the Torah uses the word “vayidom – he was silent.” Rashi adds that Aharon was rewarded for this silence.

    As the Baal HaTurim points out, the word vayidom is used one other time in all of Tanach. When the Bnei Yisrael waged war against the Emorites, although the enemy was vanquished and fleeing the field of battle, Yehoshua wanted to finish them off. After he prayed to Hashem, the sun, moon, and stars held their position. With the extended daylight, the Jews succeeded in completely destroying the enemy. The pasuk (Yehoshua 10:13) reads: “Vayidom hashemesh – And the sun stood still [was silent].”

    The Gemara in Succah (29a) lists four causes for likuy chamah – a solar eclipse. Rav Yehudah HaChassid (in Taamei Mesores HaMikra) cites the last of the four causes – two brothers dying on the same day – and connects it to Aharon’s reaction. Nadav and Avihu, two brothers, died at precisely the same time. Therefore the “Vayidom Aharon” – the silence of Aharon, which relates to two brothers who died on the same day – results in “Vayidom hashemesh” – the silence and eclipsing of the sun.

    A question remains. In the time of Yehoshua, the sun was not eclipsed and thus silent; the opposite was true. It shone brightly and with full strength into the night! How can we connect this to the Gemara that describes the eclipse of the sun, which connotes weakness? Also curious is that in the vayidom of Aharon there was silence, whereas in the vayidom of the sun there was immobility, lack of movement. Is there perhaps another way to associate the silence of Aharon with an actual silence of the sun?

    In Kol Yehudah, my step-grandfather, Rav Yehudah Aryeh Klein of Pressburg, does, in fact, suggest that the silence of the sun alludes to actual silence, much as Aharon was silent.

    The Gemara (Chulin 60b, and referenced by Rashi, Bereishis 1:16) relates that the moon was originally equal in brilliance to the sun. However, the moon complained and questioned the value in having “two kings wearing the same crown.” Hashem responded, “Go and diminish yourself,” thereby establishing the dominance of the sun among the celestial bodies.

    We understand why the moon was diminished; it made a thinly veiled attack against the sun. But why is the sun the ma’or hagadol, the great illuminator in the sky? Is it merely by default – since the moon became small, it remained big, but it otherwise had no claim to fame – or did it do something noteworthy and deserving of retaining the position as the ma’or hagadol?

    Rav Klein wrote that the sun earned the right to be the great orb in the sky, and its merit was its silence. When the moon questioned whether two kings can wear the same crown, the sun could have responded with a simple rejoinder: “Yes, there should be only one dominant light in the sky, but why should it be you? Let’s discuss it; maybe you should be the smaller one. Let’s go to beis din or binding arbitration.”

    Because the sun was silent when it was attacked, and did not respond when someone tried to take away its power, it was zocheh to be the ma’or hagadol.

    This, says the Kol Yehudah, is the fulfillment of the Gemara (Gittin 36b, Yoma 23a): “Hane’elavin ve’einan olvin shomin cherpasan ve’einan meshivin… aleihen hakasuv omer, ‘ve’ohavav ke’tzeis hashemesh bi’gevuraso’ – Those who suffer insult and do not insult back, hear their shame and do not respond… about them the pasuk [Shoftim 5:31] says, ‘And let those who love Him be like the powerfully rising sun.’” The Maharam Schiff (Gittin 36b) concurs that the sun was deserving of its status because it remained silent in the face of attack.

    If a person who does not respond when attacked or shamed is as dear to Hashem as the sun going out at full strength, it must be that that is the quality and nature of the sun itself. It retains its full vigor as a result of being silent in the face of attack or ridicule. It suffered insult without responding!

    Any person who acts similarly and does not respond is beloved as the sun at full strength.

    According to the Chomas Anach of the Chida, this explains the correlation between “vayidom Aharon” and “vayidom hashemesh” – the silence of Aharon and the silence of the sun. Where did Aharon come to this great madreigah, of being silent and totally accepting of Hashem’s decree without whispering a whimper? As explained by the Kol Yehudah, from the silence of the sun. Just as the sun was accepting of the hurt the moon wanted to inflict and was stoic, so, too, Aharon was silent when faced with a devastating loss. From the silence of the sun, Aharon saw the value of not responding.

    And just as the sun received reward for its silence, Aharon was rewarded for his silence.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Rabbenu Bachaya in Parashas Pinchas by Rosh Chodash, veod afsher, says something similar that tbe sun was ashamed by the moon, silent and was rewarded as it says veohavov katzes hashemesh bigvurisa. Dom we find in Tenach in Shir Hashirim yidemu kaoven, silent as a stone, pronounced correctly with a dagesh. Interesting in English, silent has the same letters as listen which is done when silent. Silence is also agreement.

    Reb Eliezer

    BTW, The Dubner Magid questions the expressions of the gemora where the moon was complaining for being diminished in size that it said something good. How is it good to have the sun diminish itself? So, he reverses the whole thing. The sun was created bigger than the moon. Hashem saw that the rashoim were not worthy for that light, so He hid it in tbe Torah becoming now equal in light to the moon. The moon wanted the sun should get ifs light back. Hashem diminished tbe moon, so it complained. It got convinced that small is good and tbe stars will help out. The Chasam Sofer says that sometimes tbe rebbi diminishes itself for the benefit of the talmidim. The moon agreed to be smaller so the stars could be seen. The Haflaah says that a talmid should see his rebbi being stationary like an angel not elevating oneself for the benefit of the talmidim.

    Reb Eliezer

    This makes us understand the brocho Yotzer Hameoros. We are asking Hashem to return the light to the moon at the time when sun’s and its light was equal.


    Very nice…next time in Yiddish please.shkoiach.

    Reb Eliezer

    The above should be obviously the Shira, Oz Yashir not Shir Hashirim.

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