“Vihinei Parach Mateh Ahron … Veyigmol Shekeidim”
[Likkutei Torah p. 55b]
This week’s Parsha discusses the major dispute that transpired with Korach and the priests. Hashem had commanded that the priesthood be given to Ahron and his descendents, and Korach made a jealous attempt to usurp the priesthood for himself, dragging many elite members of the Jewish people into a futile dispute against Moshe and Ahron in the process. This dispute eventually led to the death of Korach and his followers, leaving a stain on the trust the people had in Moshe to appoint their leaders and causing them to blame him and Ahron for the rebels’ demise. As a result, Hashem commanded each tribe to donate a staff to be placed in the Mishkan, avowing that the owner of the staff which would sprout fruit would be the one chosen by Hashem to lead the priesthood. The verse quoted above thus describes how the staff of Ahron, which was placed together with all the other staffs, was the one to grow fruit, miraculously confirming that he was the chosen one for the Kehuna. But of all fruits, which fruit did Hashem sprout on the staff? Almonds! In this Mamar the Alter Rebbe delves into the meaning of almonds, their significance to the staff of Ahron, and the connection between them and the choosing of Ahron for the priesthood. This interesting but simple question leads to a discussion on the great paradox found in Jewish thought regarding the power of prayer and its capacity to change decrees made on Rosh Hashanah. This in turn reveals a new understanding on the power of prayer, its affect and accomplishments, the uniqueness of the blessing of the Kohanim, and the special quality found in Ahron and his descendants which allow them to be the conduits through which the blessing is channeled.