Friday, June 25, 2010

Weeping For Aaron

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of of God. Matthew 5:9

"When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. " (Numbers 20:29) Why did Israel weep for Aaron thirty days? Aaron was 123 years old when he died, a ripe old age, full of years, yet all Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.

Thirty days is the customary term of mourning for a close relative, and Aaron, as high priest over the congregation, was like a close relative to all Israel. According to Jewish tradition, Aaron was especially beloved by all Israel because he was known as a peacemaker. He was like a family member to each person because he had made peace within their families.

One traditional teaching about Aaron says that when husbands and wives quarreled, they would seek out Aaron. He would counsel them with words of peace and bring reconciliation to their relationship. He was so adept at making peace between husbands and wives that he had many children named after him: There were thousands in Israel who were called by the name of Aaron, for if not for Aaron, they would not have come into the world.

Another popular folktale about Aaron says that when two men were fighting, Aaron would go to the first one and say to him, "Reuben, I was talking with Simon, and he was saying he's feeling really bad about this fight you are having, and he wants to make peace." Then Aaron would go to Simon and say, "I ran into Reuben, and he was telling me that he's feeling really bad about this fight you are having, and he wants to make peace with you." When the two men encountered each other, they would each assume the other wanted to make peace. They would embrace and set their argument aside.

These stories about Aaron remind us that we are called not only to be peaceful people but also to be peacemakers, a people proactively making peace. Being a peacemaker is one of the things that characterize us as disciples of [Christ]."

1 comment:

  1. Donna,
    What great information. I hadn't come across this before, but it sure is motivating. One of my great....grandfathers was the official "grumble handler" on his pioneer trek across the US. His job was to find out what the problem was, who was at fault, and issue a penalty (measured by pounds of flour) to whoever was wrong. Amazingly, only once in the entire journey did someone have to pay flour. The rest of the time, all of the parties were able to mediate amicably and all left the situation feeling like they had "won". Only a week or so into the trek, no more situations ever arose to his attention. It seems much like the wisdom and gift that Aaron had.

    If only had gene had been passed on :)