Bamidbar 33:37 -- "They camped at Hor Hahar, at the edge of the Land of Edom" -- As we know, Aharaon Hakohen was buried at Hor Hahar. The Shach comments that, just as we fortify the cities and provinces that lie on the border of a country with strong walls and defenses, so too Aharon was buried on "the edge of the Land of Edom," on the border between Edom and the Land of Israel, to protect Bnei Yisrael from attack by the Edomites.

Why was it specifically Aharon who would provide the best defense, and why specifically at the border with Edom? Perhaps it was because Aharon Hakohen was the "oheiv shalom v'rodeif shalom," the one who always sought to make peace between fellow Jews. In contrast, Edom, the descendants of Esav, stood for hatred of one's brother. Esav sought to murder his borther Yaakov, and the nation of Edom, his descendants, came out to attack Bnei Yisrael when they asked if they could just cross through their territory. Who better to stand guard against brotherly hatred than Aharon, the representative of brotherly love?



Of course, the protection that Aharon Hakohen afforded Bnei Yisrael was probably no different than any segulah. It wasn't "magic." The protection would work as long as Bnei Yisrael emulated Aharon's attribute of brotherly love. Just as a physical shield only provides protection when one is holding onto it, Aharon only helped to protect Bnei Yisrael when they "held on" to his attribute of love between fellow Jews.

It makes sense, then, that later in history, during the period of the Second Temple, when Bnei Yisrael abandoned this attribute and instead became guilty of sinas chinam, baseless hatred between brothers, that they lost Aharon's protection, and the Jewish people were ultimately conquered by none other than Edom, in the form of the Roman Empire.

It's a fitting thought for the Three Weeks. Let's grab hold of the shield of ahavas chinam, unconditional love for each other, so that we will once again merit Hashem's protection from the forces of evil that surround us.

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