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According to this article on Parshas Beha'aloscha on the Aish website, the Sefas Emes says that:

Aaron lit the menorah, day in and day out, with the same degree of fresh enthusiasm. The same task always appeared in his eyes as new. Now that's truly deserving of praise!

Does anyone know where precisely the Sefas Emes says this, and whether this is an accurate representation of what he says?

  • If I may ask, where did you see or hear this Sefas Emes mentioned? – Fred Feb 17 '15 at 19:58
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    So does that mean you can answer your own question? Or are you looking for something else? (Did I misunderstand?) – Fred Feb 17 '15 at 20:04
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    Great! I added in your source. – Fred Feb 17 '15 at 20:21
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    @Fred: I found the original - beta.hebrewbooks.org/reader/…. – Chiddushei Torah Feb 17 '15 at 20:28
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    The Sfas Emes is expounding on the Rashi in Beha'aloscha 8:3 "Vaya'as ken Aharon - lehagid shivcho shel Aharon shelo shinah." Artscroll summarizes in their Chumash with Rashi - "Alternatively, the verse teaches us that Aaron did not deviate from his initial fervor in carrying out the commandment. It never became a matter of routine with him (Sfas Emes)." Unfortunately, no details on the source is mentioned. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 17 '15 at 20:28
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This idea is found in the S'fas Emes on the Chumash (B'ha'alos'cha 5635, s.v. ויעש כן אהרן - thank you Chiddushei Torah for finding this helpful citation):

ויעש כן אהרן. שלא שינה. יש לפרש כי עשה מעשה המצוה כל ימי חייו בכוונה ורצון אחד. כי דרך כל אדם. שבהתחלה מתעורר לטוב. אח"כ נשכח ממנו. וצריך לחפש התעוררות באופן אחר תמיד. והאמת כי ההתפעלות הראשון הוא המובחר לזאת נאמר על אהרן שלא שינה וממילא בא לו תמיד השגות חדשות כמ"ש אם שמוע בישן תשמע בחדש.

Translation:

"And Aharon did thusly" (B'midbar 8:3): "To relate the praise of Aharon, that he never changed" (Rashi, ad loc.). It may be explained that he performed the act of the mitzva all the days of his life with the same intent and will. Because the way of every person is that, at the beginning he is inspired to good, but afterwards it is lost from him. And he must constantly search for inspiration in new ways. And the truth is that the initial enthusiasm is the choicest. Regarding this, it was stated about Aharon that he did not change, and consequently he always arrived at new insights, as it is stated (B'rachos 40a)1, "'If you listen' - to the old - 'you will hear' - the new."

Isaac Kotlicky helpfully brought a quote from the Artscroll Chumash with Rashi that mentions the S'fas Emes, as follows:

Alternatively, the verse teaches us that Aaron did not deviate from his initial fervor in carrying out the commandment. It never became a matter of routine with him (Sfas Emes).


1 Regarding the double language of אם שמוע תשמע (Sh'mos 15:26, 23:22; D'varim 15:5, 28:1), which literally means "if you listen you will listen" and is normally translated emphatically to something along the lines of "if you will surely listen." Here, it is translated homiletically as "If you listen, you will hear."

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