By: Steve Kirschenbaum
One struggle of Klal Yisrael today is performing Mitzvos with Hislahavus, with a sense of passion and enthusiasm. It’s not enough to do the Mitzvos by rote, we should perform the Mitzvos with anticipation and excitement. So many of us do Mitzvos to be Yotzei out of a sense of Achrayus to go through the motions. Too often we do Mitzvos without a great love, excitement, or energy.
In 4:22, the Chumash describes the Korban that’s brought by a Jewish Nasi or King who sins. ‘Asher Nasi Yechetah Ve’assah Achas Mikol Mitzvas Hashem Elokav Asher Lo Seiasenah Bi’shgagga Ve’ashem.’ If a Jewish leader transgresses a certain negative commandment accidentally and he feels guilty. Rashi comments what does it mean Asher Nasi Yechetah? Asher is generally a Lashon of Ashrei, praising the Nasi and his generation. How praiseworthy is a generation that has a leader who’s willing to bring a Korban for a mistake he made. What’s so praiseworthy about that? Simply put, he made a mistake.
The truth is nowadays we see the Gadlus in this notion. Asks the Sfas Emes, wouldn’t it be better if the Nasi didn’t make mistakes at all? Shouldn’t we say praiseworthy is the generation whose leader doesn’t make any mistakes? On a deeper level, you can have a Nasi who doesn’t commit Aveiros, he’s doesn’t violate a Lo Saaseh, but when he performs the Mitzvos Aseh, he’s constantly questioning whether he performed the Mitzvah with enough Hislahavus, enthusiasm, or was he just going through the motions. Asher, he performs a Mitzvah in a way that Lo Seiasenah, a manner in which it should not be done. He realizes this and, Ve’ashem, he feels guilty. In his mind, to do a Mitzvah lacking appreciation is almost as objectionable as committing an Aveira. So, the Nasi offers a Korban and does Teshuva for failing to perform the Mitzvah with the proper Hislahavus.
When a person offers a Korban, the Torah says ‘VeNasa Avono,’ which literally means he carries the weight of that sin. However, Naso is also a Lashon of lifting up. When the Nasi feels badly, when he’s challenging himself because he knows he could have done better, Nasa Avono, his Aveira is elevated and reaches new heights. A Teshuva rooted in Ahava towards HKBH transforms into an even bigger Mitzvah. This is a great generation worthy of praise. A generation with a leader who aspires to and understands the importance of always being energized when it comes to performing Mitzvos is praiseworthy.
Rashi in the beginning of Behaaloscha praises Aharon who had the opportunity to light the Menorah every day — Lehagid Shivcho Shel Aharaon Shelo Shinah, Aharon kindled the Menorah and his Hislahavus, his enthusiasm, in performing the Mitzvah didn’t deviate from the first day until the last. The Kotzker Rebbe says Shelo Shina is a Lashon of Yashan, he never grew old from it. Even though he did it every day, each time was as if it was his first time. This is what Rashi is hinting at — the Gadlus of Aharon — when G-d says to Aharon what you’re going to do for Me is greater than what the Nesiim did. You’re jealous of the Nesiim, thinking they have a unique opportunity to offer a once in a lifetime Korban. You’re seeing their energy and excitement from this once in a lifetime opportunity. But G-d says to Aharon you’re going to do the same thing every day and you’ll be even more excited than the Nesiim each and every time.
In Chayei Sarah, the Chumash says VeAvraham Zaken Ba BaYamim VaHashem Beirach Es Avraham BaKol, Avraham was old, but HKBH blessed Avraham ‘BaKol.’ Rashi points out that BaKol is Gematriya ‘Ben.’ Avraham was old, but G-d blessed him with a son. Explains the Degel Machaneh Ephraim, the grandson of the Besht, we know that the difference between a Zachar and Nekaiva in Chazal is that the Zachar signifies a more active approach and Nekaiva signifies a more passive approach. Avraham was old; as people get old, they lose their energy. But even as Avraham aged, he was still like a Ben, like a young man full of energy and Hislahavus for HKBH. The world expects man to get old as the years go by and say ‘Naar Hayisi Gam Zakanti,’ I used to be young, now I’m old. The Divrei Yisrael, the Modzitzer Rebbe, reads the Pasuk, Gam Zakanti – it’s true, I’m old, but Naar Hayisi — I’m still a Naar, I’m still able to maintain a youthful exuberance, a Hislahavus in my service of G-d.