After Moshe asks Hashem to 'send by the hand of whomever You will send' (Shemos 4:13), Rashi notes on (14) that Moshe loses the kehuna to Aharon. Why does Moshe deserve to lose the kehuna based on his reluctance to take on the leadership at first?


with whom You would send: With whom You are accustomed to sending, and this is Aaron. Another explanation: With someone else, with whom You wish to send, for I am not destined to bring them into the land [of Israel] and to be their redeemer in the future. You have many messengers.


2 Answers 2


Rabbi Zweig answered in this week's Insights:

"Aharon recognized that while it’s true that redeeming Bnei Yisroel and becoming their leader was a position of greatness, it’s not an appointment. In other words, when Hashem asks you to take this role, it’s one primarily of service to Bnei Yisroel and Hashem's plan for the world. This job isn't about the stature that comes with the responsibility, it’s about being a servant to that responsibility.

Moshe was bothered by the stature associated with the job. He spends a week explaining why he isn't the right person for this job. When at the of the week he still feels that Aharon would be jealous of his new position, Hashem gets angry and explains to him that Aharon understands that this is about responsibility to serve – not the associated stature. It is for this reason that Moshe loses the right to be a Kohen and this role is given to Aharon. Kohanim are “Meshorsei Hamelech” – ministers of the king. There is no sense of stature in this leadership role; only responsibility to serve Hashem. Aharon understood that when called to the responsibility of serving Hashem you have to accept and that stature plays no role in the decision."

You can read the full answer here.


Different jobs have different requirements. A Kohen's job is to follow Hashem's commandments to the letter whether or not he thinks it would be better a different way. If he doesn't he will very often invalidate his service. For example, if a Kohen decides while he is bringing the Korban that he can make a bigger Kiddush Hashem by eating the Korban a few days later (while he has many guests over who will see or something like that) he has just done a Lav and invalidated the Korban by making it Piggul.

If he is bringing a Korban for a great Rav who is a Yisrael he does not have the ability to tell the Yisrael to do any services beyond the Shechitah.

Someone who has an attitude of deciding that other people should be doing the Avoda when they themselves were the person Hashem asked is someone who does not meet the job requirements to be a Kohen. This does not preclude him from being given other perhaps more important jobs that don't have that job requirement.

  • 1
    Interesting idea! Is it your own?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 20:26
  • 1
    See also Rashi at the beginning of B'haalos'cha: "מלמד שבחו של אהרן שלא שינה".
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:44
  • @msh210 that's the vort of the Brisker Rav. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 10:12

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