In an ostensibly irrelevant pasuk (16:34) regarding the Yom Kippur service, we are told that Aharon ‘did just as HaShem had commanded Moshe.’ Why does the Torah need to tell us this? Rashi points out that this pasuk is singing the praises of Aharon, who did exactly as he was told by Moshe. Moreover, the Ohr Hachaim adds that our pasuk is also praising Moshe for passing over to Aharon the exact instructions that HaShem gave to him. But this all seems a bit funny; why would we have thought that Moshe and Aharon would have diverged from the instructions that HaShem gave them as to how to do the Yom Kippur service; who knows what is spiritually beneficial more than HaShem Himself? Is it really a praise for them to have done what they were expected to do anyway? Perhaps an answer is Moshe might have thought to add more atoning features to the Yom Kippur service, for example more davening or a late-night Torah-learning session. Thus, the Torah sings the praise of Moshe in that he kept rigorously and strictly to what HaShem told him to relay to Aharon. As for Aharon, his praise is that he resisted the temptation to try and get close to HaShem (albeit in an illegal way) by going into the kodesh kodashim any other time during the year, as well as the fact that Aharon performed the Yom Kippur service with total humility; he did not do it with any feeling of his own greatness, but instead did it purely for HaShem’s glory and honour.

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