Among the various garments worn by the Kohen Gadol discussed in this week's parshah, is the choshen. There is an interesting story behind this piece of the Kohen Gadol's garments. Way back in Parshas Shmos, Hashem was trying to convince Moshe Rabenu at the burning bush, to accept the mission of leading Am Yisrael and approaching Pharaoh to set them free. Rashi writes that Moshe hesitated at the burning bush for an entire week, out of respect for his older brother, Aharon. The Torah writes that Aharon was actually very happy for Moshe, and within his heart of hearts, he harbored absolutely no jealousy or animosity over this. Rashi writes that Aharon was rewarded for this with the privilege of carrying the choshen over his heart.
It's interesting to note that Chazal tell us that if Aharon would have known that the Torah would end up recording his actions, then, when he went out to the desert to meet up with Moshe, he would have brought a band to arrange a whole ceremony to celebrate Moshe's return to Egypt.
This is an amazing lesson for all of us! We never know how significant our actions are, and what results they will yield down the road. Perhaps we're working very hard, but feel like we're headed toward a dead-end; perhaps it's something so simple, like smiling at somebody, which we may later not even remember doing. Maybe it was a kind or encouraging world we said to someone. With today's technology, it should be easy for us to relate to this concept. There are security cameras everywhere. Some of them could even be as tiny as a button, and we don't even realize that they're there, watching us.
Everything we do is significant to Hashem, and we'll eventually reap sweet fruits from those actions – just like Aharon who was rewarded with the choshen over his heart.
~ Rabbi Aharon Leiberman, endearingly termed 'Rav Ernie' by all the students, is originally from Boston. He is a morning seder Rebbi and works on the administrative staff at Yeshivas Lev Zion.