Aaron the Peacemaker

Aaron the Peacemaker FFOZ

Why did Israel weep for Aaron thirty days? Aaron was 123 years old when he died, a ripe old age, full of years, yet all Israel wept for Aaron thirty days. Thirty days is the customary term of mourning for a close relative, and Aaron, as high priest over the congregation, was like a close relative to all Israel.

According to Jewish tradition, Aaron was especially beloved by all Israel because he was known as a peacemaker. He was like a family member to each person because he had made peace within their families. Rabbi Hillel used to say, "Be one of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace." (m.Avot 1:12.) To be a disciple of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, is to be a disciple of Yeshua, the Prince of Peace. Rabbi Yeshua said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). One traditional teaching about Aaron says that when husbands and wives quarreled, they would seek out Aaron. He would counsel them with words of peace and bring reconciliation to their relationship. He was so adept at making peace between husbands and wives that he had many children named after him:

There were thousands in Israel who were called by the name of Aaron, for if not for Aaron, they would not have come into the world. Aaron made peace between husband and wife so that they came together, and they named the child that was born after him. (Avot d'Rabbi Nattan)

Another popular folktale about Aaron says that when two men were fighting, Aaron would go to the first one and say to him, "Reuben, I was talking with Simon, and he was saying he's feeling really bad about this fight you are having, and he wants to make peace." Then Aaron would go to Simon and say, "I ran into Reuben, and he was telling me that he's feeling really bad about this fight you are having, and he wants to make peace with you." When the two men encountered each other, they would each assume the other wanted to make peace. They would embrace and set their argument aside. Perhaps this is why the psalmist says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes" (Psalm 133:1-2). These stories about Aaron remind us that we are called not only to be peaceful people but also to be peacemakers, a people proactively making peace. Being a peacemaker is one of the things that characterize us as disciples of Yeshua.


Comment: An argument that is for the sake of heaven (Herschel)


An argument for the sake of heaven involves both sides striving to establish the truth. The losing side in an argument will gracefully accept defeat because the truth has been achieved and that was their sole motivation for the discussion/argument. However, an argument not for the sake of heaven is driven by ulterior motives such as honour and status. The Sages were drawing a fundamental distinction between two kinds of conflict: argument for the sake of truth and argument for the sake of victory.


This possibly explains Yitro’s (Jethro) cryptic comment in Exodus 18. Yitro came to Moses to return his wife and children to him. He observed Moses judging the people and suggested that he appoint seventy men of repute to assist him in hearing and judging the minor cases that might arise within the people. And then, Yitro said:

Exodus 18:23

If you do this thing as God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their places in shalom."


There is an adage that says “being right is the booby prize of life’. When a disagreement arises and the decision is that it is one that is for the sake of heaven, who is right and who is wrong doesn’t enter into the equation. When both parties believe that their point of view has been heard and that the judgment is fair and the truth upheld, both parties can both go to their tents in shalom!