Our Parasha relates the death of Aaron at the age of 123 and that the children of Israel mourned him for 30 days. Rashi emphasises in his commentary the love the whole people (men and women) had for him. As a lover and pursuer of peace אוהב שלום, רודף שלום he had intervened to help resolve multiple disputes between man and wife and between arguing rivals.
Just two paragraphs before, the Parasha speaks of the event which prevented Aaron and his brother Moshe entering the promised land before passing to the next world. With the congregation lacking water, Moshe hits the rock when Hashem asked him to speak to it resulting in both Moshe and Aaron being accused of not believing in and sanctifying Hashem יען לא האמנתם בי להקדשני. But what did Aaron do to be blameworthy? It was Moshe who took the staff (as commanded), who hit the rock (instead of speaking to it), chose which rock to hit (instead of asking the people), became angry and insulted the people calling them rebels. Aaron did none of this.
Whilst our commentators give a plethora of reasons for Moshe’s sin, they are relatively silent on Aaron’s role. We might suggest that  it is indeed Aaron’s silence which was his misdemeanour in this case. He should have protested his brother’s actions. This was of course not the only situation the Torah relates that Aaron acquiesced when challenged with a moral dilemma. The golden calf is one example and another is when Myriam his sister “spoke to him about” Moshe, he simply listened. He should have stopped her.


Aaron’s pursuit of peace and silence in adversity (for example when his sons Nadav and Avihu died וידם אהרון) made him the wonderful human being and spiritual leader he was. His acquiescence at the rock was nevertheless inappropriate. Maybe the incident and Hashem’s reaction to Aaron’s role in it teaches us that there are times when we need to speak up for what is right however challenging and out of our comfort zone it makes us feel. שבת שלום.
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