Parshat Tetzaveh famously lacks any mention of Moshe’s name, the first time that happens since his birth. Some commentators explain that this is in direct response to Moshe’s argument that if G-d doesn’t forgive the Jews for the sin of the Golden Calf, He should “erase me from your book” (32:32). Although G-d did forgive the Jews, the punishment for suggesting a total erasure was borne out in our Parsha. However, although Moshe is not mentioned by name, he is certainly referred to many times, as the one given the many instructions for the priestly clothing. First, what sort of punishment is it, if he’s still mentioned? Second, why the punishment in the first place?
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks suggests an alternate approach that bears a practical lesson for us. He first points out that the relationship between Moshe and Aaron was different because they actually got along, and even supported and complemented each other. Aaron represented kindness and peace while Moshe represented truth and humility. Truth is critical in inspiring a nation, while there wouldn’t be a nation to inspire without peace. They recognized each other’s role and respected their difference. That’s why Moshe left this entire Parsha to focus on Aaron and his sons. It wasn’t a punishment, but a lesson of honor and respect.
The focus of this week’s Parsha on Aaron spotlights a brotherhood that finally worked, and laid a blueprint for us to emulate by respecting our differences and supporting the roles we each can play in creating the people we all can be.