Awaken Real Appreciation
Shemot, “names,” is the name of both this week’s portion and the second book of the Torah, which is also called Exodus. One of the teachings in this week’s portion, while it has an important practical application, is such a beautiful teaching on its own that even if it didn’t, is worth studying.
The Creator reveals himself to Moses. He says, “I want you to be my messenger, to be the leader of this generation.” Moses is concerned that his older brother Aaron will have some jealousy, because as we know, Moses had to run for his life, literally, to Midian, while Aaron remained the leader. And now suddenly, out of nowhere, Moses is going to come and say to Aaron, “The Creator has been revealed to me and I need to take over as the leader.” But the Creator tells him not to worry, promising that Aaron is going to only have joy and appreciation when he hears about Moses’ new position.
The Creator then reveals Himself to Aaron and tells him to go and join his brother Moses in the desert. The Midrash says that this is the secret of the verse in Shir HaShirim, Song of Songs - the Creator says to us, “I hope that you can be as close to me as the brothers.” The brothers that are being referred to here are Moses and Aaron. Although, of course they were brothers before, the bond that existed between them really began on this Shabbat. Aaron goes and meets him, yes, but more importantly is where Aaron meets Moses - at Mt Sinai, the mountain, the physical place that later was going to be where the Light of Immortality was revealed.
It says he met him there at the mountain, and Aaron kissed Moses. Now, usually you read this story, you probably just gloss over the fact that he met him after a long time of not seeing him so he gives him a kiss. But we know there is nothing mentioned in the Torah that does not have a great secret behind it. So what is the secret of the kiss that Aaron gave to Moses?
Our sages taught that all kisses in the world, except for three types, actually have no Light in them. The first type of kiss that does have energy behind it is a kiss given when a person sees another person spiritually elevate to a new, important position. He feels appreciation, and at that moment gives him a kiss, which awakens more appreciation and love. The second is when a person gives a kiss before a separation. We know, unfortunately, it’s hard to appreciate things that are with you all the time. Sometimes only at the time of separation, at the time of loss, do you truly awaken appreciation for a person. The third group of kisses that have energy, Light, within them is when a person sees somebody he hasn’t seen for a long time. And because of that, usually, there is an awakening of appreciation and true love, and it has true energy, true Light within it.
Therefore, when it says in this week’s portion that Aaron gives him a kiss, it means that now he had awakened both an appreciation for Moses’ new level, and because he had not seen him for a long time, awakened love and appreciation for his brother.
We learn that two things happen when a person awakens true appreciation for a quality, for a revelation, for a secret that he sees in somebody else: first, he becomes able to receive that Light for himself and he becomes able to keep that Light, that blessing for himself, and next, he reveals that Light for the world. The bottom line in all of this, therefore, is that a kiss is a manifestation of appreciation. And why it is important? Because a person cannot be a vessel, cannot receive any blessings outside of himself until and unless he completely appreciates that gift in somebody else. You cannot receive any Light or any gift unless you have a true appreciation for it.
The Midrash says an amazing thing - Mt Sinai became Mt Sinai, Mt Sinai was prepared to become the place where the Light of Immortality was revealed - because of the kiss that Aaron gave Moses. The Light of Immortality could only have been revealed at Mt Sinai after Moses and Aaron awakened a true appreciation of each other, and a true awakening of love for and between each other through the power of this kiss. They sanctified, they elevated this mountain in the desert, to be capable to receive the Light of the Torah, the Light of Immortality. Had Aaron not awakened this true love and appreciation for Moses, Mt. Sinai could not have been Mt. Sinai. The Light of Immortality could not have been revealed there.
Real Light, if you want to hold onto it for yourself, if you want to reveal it for the world, only comes from those moments when you awaken a true appreciation of somebody else, a true appreciation of something that they have done, or who they are, or what they are doing. Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you awakened a true appreciation? The type of appreciation that Aaron awakened here for Moses, and Moses awakened here for Aaron. Because that is the only time that you can become a true conduit for those blessings and for that Light in your life, and more importantly that is the only time that you can reveal this Light for the world.
Now we understand why the Zohar is filled with these instances where somebody reveals a secret, and immediately Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, or somebody else, gets up and gives a kiss; because they knew that even though the Light is great as it is being revealed, they would never get it, keep it, or reveal it to the world if they did not take the time to truly awaken appreciation…and from that appreciation, love… and from that love, a kiss.
If you are able to do that, really push yourself, take the time to become a person who truly appreciates others, truly appreciates the gifts and the secrets held within every other person, then not only do you receive that Light, but also you will hold onto that Light and reveal it for the world. May we all have the merit to continuously push ourselves to awaken that true appreciation for another, for what they do, for what they have done, for what they are doing. Then that Light is revealed, that Light stays, and that Light is brought to this world… and that is the secret of the kiss that Aaron gives Moses. And that is the secret of how Mt. Sinai became Mt. Sinai.
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