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In celebration of the routine

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Students, parents, and everyone who has a daily job: this thought of Racheli Peretz seems especially appropriate for the first day of the week:

Last week we read about the dedication of the Mishkan (desert sanctuary). The Torah went into great detail describing the elaborate gifts of each tribal leader who participated in this festive occasion, but Aharon HaKohen was not mentioned. He was disappointed and wondered why he was left out of this inspiring event. But in the Torah portion we read on Shabbat Aharon got his answer. God would make him responsible for the daily lighting of the menorah lamps in the Mishkan. Rashi explains the hidden message, what God meant to convey to Aharon through assigning him this task: "yours is greater than theirs."

In other words, they made a great contribution, but it was a one-time event. You are now responsible for a perpetual task, a daily chore of elevation. Everyday, no matter how ordinary, you will light a fire of enthusiasm and renewal. Our commentators explain that we are talking about an educational principle. It is easy to celebrate a birthday or a wedding anniversary, but much harder to get excited about a typical day of the week. It's easier to value dramatic highlights and peak moments than to appreciate long-term effort and dedication. The parents who get up in the middle of the night when their child awakens, the families in the Gaza periphery who are rehabilitating their lives at this moment when we are resuming our lives as usual, the student who falls asleep over a book but then decides to invest still more time studying -- all of these are not occasions for applause.  But the Torah portion teaches that holiness and significance are hidden within these efforts of devotion and that they are greater than any briefly shining moments.

Shavua tov.


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