Midot Hayom 5770 Day 35: Malchut in Hod
Said the Holy One, Blessed is He, to Moses, “Do a favor and tell Aaron of his death, for I am ashamed to tell him.” [As an honor to Aaron, God showed Himself, as it were, as if He was ashamed to tell Aaron of his death.] What did Moses do? He rose early in the morning and went to Aaron. “My brother
Aaron!” he cried. [Aaron] immediately came down to him and asked, “Why have you come here so early today?” Replied Moses, “There was a matter in Torah that was difficult for me, and I pondered it all night. That is why I have come to you early in the morning.” “What matter is it?” asked [Aaron]. “ I do not know what matter it was; I know only that it is in the Book of Genesis.” They took the Book of Genesis and read from it. When they reached the creation of Adam, Moses said, “What shall I say about Adam, who brought death to the world?” “Moses, my brother,” replied Aaron, “shall we not accept God’s decree in this matter?” Said Moses, “And I, who ruled over the ministering angels, and you who stopped the Angel of Death – will our end not be thus?” As soon as [Moses] reminded him of the day of death, Aaron’s bones felt weak. “Is this matter [meant] for me?” he asked. “Yes” replied [Moses]. Thereupon Israel saw that he was diminishing in size. [Moses] said to him, “Do you accept death?” “Yes,” answered Aaron. “[Then] let us ascend to Hor Hahar,” said [Moses]. When they ascended, a cave opened for them, where they found a bier which was the work of heaven. Aaron took off one garment [at a time], which Eleazar put on, while a fog enveloped [Aaron]. Immediately, the Divine Presence descended and kissed him. Then the Holy One, Blessed is he, said to [Moses], “Depart from here.” When they left, the cave was sealed. And Moses and Eleazar descended (Yalkut Shimoni, Chukat 764).
What kind of human being was Aaron that God showed Himself, as it were, as if He was ashamed to tell Aaron of his death? Surely, Aaron knew that he would eventually die. Even Moses, doing a “favor” for God, did not directly inform Aaron of his impending death, but used a question about the very nature of humanity to break the news.
The moment Aaron picked up the hint, his bones felt weak, and he “diminished in size.”
It’s as if the Midrash wants to convey that Aaron was only Aaron while alive. The man of Hod, who saw the inner essence of every human being and each creation, not only saw the Hod, he incorporated it. His whole being was the Hod of everyone and everything. Just as the king is the heart of the nation, so too, Aaron, was the expression of Hod in the world. He could not die while in his state of Malchut in Hod. He had to connect with the gap of Hod inherent in all creation: Death. His bones felt weak, and he diminished in size, he began to disconnect from the Malchut in Hod that reflects the inner essence of creation as a whole.
It is not enough for us to pay attention to the Hod of other people and the creations. Each insight of Hod can be incorporated into our being. The Mitzvah to love another as we love ourselves, is to focus on the beautiful parts of other people and strive to be as beautiful in the same manner. Blessings are far more than expressions of gratitude and appreciation for the beauty of the world. We look at an orange, a tree, even a vegetable, and acknowledge that it expresses God’s Hod in the world. Blessings help us to become active people of Hod.
The more active we are, the more Hod we will incorporate. Our very being will become one of Malchut in Hod, in which we are Hod absorbers, people who reflect increasing levels of awareness of God in all of creation.
It is only as Hod absorbers that we are truly prepared for Revelation to be more than an experience, but something that will transform our level of existence. It is only as Hod absorbers that the Torah we learn, the Mitzvot we perform, and the prayers we sing, become part of our own essence.
- Make a special effort today to fulfill the Mitzvah of loving others.
- Take extra time before each blessing to reflect on each creation as an expression of God’s Hod.
- Use the Nefesh Hachaim’s definition of, “Baruch ata Hashem;” We expand Your presence God by seeing the essence of this food or Mitzvah.