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שלח נא ביד תשלח

Send by the hand of whomever You will send. (4:13)

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Rashi comments: “By the hand of he whom You are accustomed to send as Your messenger.” This refers to Aharon HaKohen, who heretofore was Hashem’s emissary and leading spiritual leader of the enslaved Jews in Egypt. Moshe Rabbeinu was reluctant to accept the leadership position of Klal Yisrael, lest he infringe in any way upon his older brother’s current role as leader. Horav Shneur Kotler, zl, related (as quoted by the Tolner Rebbe, Shlita) that his father, the venerable architect to Torah in America, Horav Aharon Kotler, zl, had, throughout his life, never been bested by anyone (his vast erudition in Torah was without peer), except once when a chassidic Jew got the better of him.

The Rosh Yeshivah explained, “I was once traveling to a meeting. I chanced upon a book of stories about the Saintly Horav Bunim, zl, m’Peshischa. This book quoted the Peshischa as saying that during his youth, he had the ability to bring Moshiach. He refrained from engaging in this lofty spiritual endeavor, because it might cause a chalishus hadaas, weakening of one’s faculties (a crushing and debilitating distress), to the tzaddik hador, most righteous leader of the generation, Horav Yehoshua Heschel, zl, m’Apta. (He was a disciple of the Noam Elimelech and author of the Ohaiv Yisrael.) Bunim Aptarker (the pharmacist – which was his vocation before he was revealed as the great Rebbe that he became), could, however, bring about the advent of Moshiach, while the holy Apter Rav did not succeed, despite toiling diligently his entire life to do so.

Rav Aharon continued, “This statement bothered me, and, at the meeting that I attended, which included many Jews representing the broad spectrum of observant Jewry, I presented the question that troubled me: “If the Peshischa was able to bring Moshiach, what right did he have to refrain, simply because it would cause the Apter to have emotional distress?” Suddenly, a chassidic Jew arose and pointed out to me that our quintessential leader, Moshe Rabbeinu, refused to accept Klal Yisrael’s leadership, because it would cause his older brother distress. Indeed, Hashem responded to Moshe’s demurment, saying, “Aharon will be overjoyed to see you ascend to a position of greatness.”


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