The Chumash (Shemini 10:16 and onwards) describe an argument between Moshe and Aharon.

Aharon's two sons died by the hands of Hashem and he became an Onen who cannot eat sacrifices. Moshe gave him an instruction from Hashem that in that case he must continue serving on the Mizbeach.

Aharon interpreted that instruction as applying only to the special sacrifices offered during the inauguration and not to his regularly-scheduled sacrifices. Therefore, he burned the Rosh Chodesh Musaf. Moshe Rabbeinu got upset until Aharon explained his reasoning to him. After that Moshe calmed down and admitted that he was right.

How was Aharon allowed to issue this ruling to begin with? Why isn't he considered to be one who issues a ruling in the presence of his teacher (who is liable to the death penalty at the hand of heaven)?

2 Answers 2


He didn't Pasken. He did for himself what he knew to be correct.

We find in Eiruvin 63 that a learned student may check the Shechita knife for his own usage although it is seen as an honor usually given to the local Rav.

The Issur of Paskenning in front of a Rebbi is even by simple Halachos which can be found in a Sefer by anyone. It is obvious that you aren't required to ask your Rebbe every detail of every Mitzvah (i.e. before eating egg with milk, before lifting a spoon on Shabbos) although if questioned, you may not answer on those same issues.

Another answer can be that the rule is that to avoid an Issur anyone can intervene, even in front of a Rebbe, as we find by Pinchas.

  • How is this different than the act done by Nadav and Avihu which according to one opinion was problematic as having been a ruling?
    – user6591
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 4:32
  • 1
    @user6591 Wonderful point. There are two differences. First, it wasn't their job. They went ahead and acted out what they understood to be correct. Second, if was after all a decision and a conclusion that they had made. That was indeed a Psak. In Aaron's case it was simple Halacha, he didn't go out and make a Diyuk. There was no "Psak". I was contemplating including this in the answer when I first put it up, but decided not to since it is a defence of my point, not an enhancement of it.
    – HaLeiVi
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 7:35
  • @user6591 To add to this, there is a big difference between a shev v'al ta'aseh that Aharon did and a pro-active kum vi'aseh that his children engaged in. Technically, Aharon didn't even paskin ANYTHING - he merely refrained from performing an active mitzvah (eating the specific korban in question) and engaged in the clear nitak li'aseh of burning the notar. The only question is whether this was "optimal," not whether it was functionally correct. Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 17:43

I cannot comment as I do not as of yet have enough points to do so. I'm just throwing out there that we learn out from a place that places Aharon's name before Moshe's that they were both equals. Maybe Moshe wasn't Aharon's teacher maybe they were chavrusas or something like that.

Although.....it was said that Moshe gave over the Torah to Aharon who tight it to........etc. and if some teaches you even one thing you have to treat them as your Rebbi (Mishnah in Avos) Maybe since Aharon was the Kohen Gadol that made him in that perspective the 'Rebbi' (especially considering that this was his field of expertise because this had to do with the Beis Hamikdash)

I am just speculating so don't hold me to my words

  • 1
    So he was a Talmid-Chaver (who has independent Koach HaSvara but needs his teacher for Mishnayos). hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=3&daf=63&format=text בעו מיניה מרב חסדא כל שני דרב הונא ולא אורי רב חסדא אורי בכפרי בשני דרב הונא רב רב המנונא אורי בחרתא דארגז. According to Tosfos, he'd still be Chayav Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 2:50
  • I'll try to look for another answer then Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 10:50

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