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"When the entire assembly saw that Aharon had died, they wept for Aharon thirty days, the entire House of Israel" (Bemidbar 20:29).

Rashi explains that the reason the Torah stresses that "the entire House of Israel" wept for Aharon, is to indicate that everyone, both men and women, mourned for him because he would make peace between quarrelers and between man and his wife. Therefore, he was beloved by all.

The Sages tell us Aharon's unique method of making peace. Whenever he heard that two people were involved in a quarrel, he would go to one of them and tell him that he had recently met his friend and had heard him say, "The quarrel was my fault, and I bitterly regret it. But I'm ashamed to admit it to my friend." Aharon would then go to the second person and tell him the same fabricated story. When the two people would meet again, they would hug one another and be friends again.

Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein shlita told the following story of someone who was the antithesis of Aharon; and full of chutzpah (audacity) too.

There was a shadchan (matchmaker) in Israel whom we will call Reuvain. A man, whom we'll call Shim'on, had a son who was a prize student; the best boy in his yeshiva. Another man, whom we'll call Levi, had a daughter who was perfect in every way. Reuvain proposed to Shim'on and Levi that their children meet and decide if they are a marriageable pair. They met several times and were both equally impressed with each other.

Just before they became engaged, though, something happened. An American fellow, whom we'll call Yehudah, came to visit Israel and told Reuvain that he wants an excellent girl as a shidduch (match) for his son who is likewise an outstanding boy. The more Yehudah described his son, the more Reuvain felt that Levi's daughter would be perfect for him. But she was about to get engaged to Shim'on's son. What difference did it make to Reuvain? Simple. In Israel, the custom is that if a shidduch is completed, each side pays the shadchan one thousand dollars. However, if Levi's daughter were to get engaged to Yehudah's son, then besides the thousand dollars Reuvain would get from Levi, he would get five thousand dollars from Yehudah; a gain of four thousand dollars.

Reuvain was a selfish, evil man, whose only concern was making as much as he could. So he did the opposite of what Aharon HaKohain used to do. He approached Shim'on and told him that he was amazed to hear Levi badmouthing him. He suggested that perhaps Shim'on should reconsider, before the children became betrothed to each other.

He then went to Levi, and told the same lie. Both parents were enraged at each other and immediately told their children that they could not continue to meet; let alone get engaged.

Now the scene was set for Reuvain to approach Levi and suggest a "much better" boy; Yehudah's son. The boy and girl met but did not find each other appealing, and so they dropped the idea. Now, Reuvain regretted what he had done, but it was too late. Like many greedy people, he had caused himself a loss of two thousand dollars because he had wanted more than he had deserved.

A few months later, Shim'on's son asked his father why he had forbade him to marry Levi's daughter, whom he had liked very much. Shim'on explained that if Levi had badmouthed him, he didn't want to become mechutanim (relatives by marriage) with him. Shim'on's son pleaded with his father to try and work things out with Levi.

Shim'on visited Levi and asked him dugri (straight out) what fault he had found in him that he had spoken ill of him. Levi was shocked and argued that the case was just the opposite. Suddenly, they both realized what had happened. They had been duped by Reuvain for his own selfish motives. That night, the children met again, and a few days later got engaged; with much happiness between them and among the members of their families.

The rest of the story is really hard to believe. When Reuvain heard about the engagement, he had the unmitigated gall to come to the parents and asked for his shadchanus; a thousand dollars a piece! The parents came to Rav Zilberstein to ask what the Torah requires them to do. The shocked rabbi told them that they owe him nothing. He had wanted to tell them that instead of paying two thousand dollars, they should knock out two of his teeth. But that would not really be allowed. Instead, he ruled that it is permitted to announce in shul that Reuvain is a rasha (a wicked person) and to publicize what he did.

He added that if Reuvain wants forgiveness for his sin, he should give the four thousand dollars, that he coveted improperly, to the married couple; who would live happily ever after and together build a bayis ne'eman biYisrael.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel