Method of Pursuing Peace

Question

I understand that Aaharon the brother of Moshe Rabeinu in a famous story lied for the sake of Shalom, to bring togather two brothers quarraling. This seems unethical to me. Couldnt he use language rather than deceit and masquerade? Were the common Yiddin back in the desert at that time too wrapped up in their nomadic survival struggles to hear someone say: “Golly I almost feel like lying to bring you togather, cant you see that you are brothers, faced with wandering the dusty desert, why am I even THINKING of resorting to a rediculous scheme like that! Hear me out, and see through a moments escalation of drama to the truth of your love for eachother. Because truth has a way of winning out in the end without the need for deceit. Maybe they were having a fight that warranted them not speaking to eachother. Maybe they were both keenly aware of their melodrama? Maybe they thought it wasnt time to repatch things up? What is the lesson here? Not to trust your own self? To meddle in between people to try to match them up against their own will? To sneak and connive something as holy as Emes?

15 years

Answers

  1. The Midrash is teaching us that in our imperfect world absolute truth and peace sometimes collide. For example, you may be at a wedding and want to wish condolences to the groom (or bride) – that would be absolute truth. However, the obligation of peace tells us that we should say “Mazaltov! He/she is wonderful, good looking etc. etc.” Jewish law says that in such a case, truth has to give way to peace between people. (Babylonian Talmud, Ketuvot 17a) I don’t think that we have to assume that the example the Midrash gives literally happened. It is teaching us that when Aron felt it was needed he was prepared to, and did, change the truth for the sake of peace. The concept of truth is speaking and acting in accordance with the ultimate reality. That reality is God’s will and hence even when Aron “lied” he was in fact speaking in accordance with that ultimate reality.

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