Sefer Vayikra deals mostly with the various activities that were done in the Mishkan, so it is not surprising that Aharon, the Kohen Gadol, is the one who is primarily mentioned in connection with these activities. Yet in the first parsha, parshas Vayikra, Aharon is ignored and instead all the activities are attributed to his sons - בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן .

What’s the reason for this anomaly?

  • He is mentioned in 2:3: "והנותרת מן המנחה לאהרן ולבניו"
    – intuit
    Nov 25, 2014 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


Leviticus Rabbah 7:1 says that Gd was angry with Aaron because he demonstrated to the Israelites that their idol was worthless when they brought a sacrifice to the golden calf, making them intentional sinners instead of unintentional sinners. A part of his punishment was being mentioned only by way of his sons, (ie. 'the sons of Aaron shall...'), to fulfil Gd's erasing him from His Book, (Ex. 32:33), until Moses intervened and argued on Aaron's behalf. Gd answered Moses' prayer in the beginning of Leviticus 6, not only mentioning Aaron in and of himself, but placing him before his sons:

Command Aaron and his sons, saying...

  • This would also explain why the first verse of Vayikra (אל משה) is used as on of the מיעוטין that Gd spoke only to Moshe directly and not Aharon.
    – intuit
    Nov 25, 2014 at 18:48

R. Shlomo Kluger answered this question at the beginning of parshas Tzav in his explanation as to why the parsha started with the Olah offering (the burnt offering):

The Midrash in parshas Beha’alosecha on the posuk “take the Levites” teaches that Hashem does not elevate a person to greatness until He first tests him. Here too, Hashem wanted to test Aharon to see if he was fitting to be the Kohen Gadol by giving his sons prominence in parshas Vayikra. If Aharon would complain about this it would show that he is arrogant and cares about his honour, and so he would not be not fitting. But if he keeps quiet and does not complain it would be clear that he has the attribute of humility, and thus fitting to be the Kohen Gadol.

And since Aharon passed the test Hashem now explained to Aharon the reason why He had not mentioned his name until now, by saying: “This is the law of the Olah (of that which goes up)” - this is the law of one who rises to greatness. He must first be tested, and therefore I did not mention your name until now in order to test you.

Full text in English can be found here.

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