We all need inspiration sometimes, even Aaron the High Priest, as we learn in this week’s Torah reading.
This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11 – 34:35), and in it we read about the special anointing oil used to sanctify the people serving – and even the utensils used – in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and, later, in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
God instructed Ohaliab, assistant to Temple architect Bezalel, on how to make the special oil. It was done in a unique way, with particular ingredients. The people and utensils designated for service in the Mishkan were only “activated” once they had been anointed with the oil.
The first person anointed with the special oil was Aaron, brother of Moses, who served as the High Priest.
God instructs Moses to tell the Jewish people, “This sacred oil of anointment shall be for Me, forever”.
The commentators teach that “forever” is to be taken quite literally. They say that the original anointing oil used for Aaron would exist forever. Furthermore, the oil remained intact even after it was used for anointing; it was never depleted. In other words, when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt, this oil, made 3,000 years ago, will once again be found in its original state and quantity, used to anoint the new High Priest!
Another Chanukah Miracle?
It sounds like another Chanukah miracle. What is this all about?
Indeed, it is similar to the Chanukah miracle of oil. Moses’ oil was used, but not consumed. It was lost, and will soon be found. Moses did not make a large amount of oil, yet so many people and utensils were anointed with it, and yet again it will be available for use when the Messiah comes!
Why was this special anointing oil not consumed with use? What can we learn here?
Nothing Can Make a Person Holy
Although the anointing oil was needed in order to “activate” Aaron (and sons) for service, it was not the oil that made them holy. Nothing can make a person holy. Holiness must come from within. It cannot be imposed or forced upon someone. This is why the oil was not consumed: it didn’t do anything. It was merely the catalyst, the cause for inspiration. It was the inspiration and motivation that made Aaron and sons holy.
The anointing oil is compared to a candle. When one candle lights another, the first candle is not diminished in any way, yet the second candle adds light to the room. Here as well, the oil was not diminished, it merely added “light,” or inspiration. The oil inspired the sanctity and potential that Aaron and sons already had within them.
We all need inspiration sometimes, even Aaron the High Priest. Nothing can make us holy. It’s already there within you.
Each person must discover what inspires him or her the most. Perhaps it is a certain rabbi, a class, or a book. Perhaps it is Shabbat, holidays, or a prayer service. Everyone has his own “anointing oil.” Find out what inspires you the most – and run with it! It will bring out the holiness you didn’t even know you had!
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin, click below:
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