(Bamidbar 17, 16-24) Hashem said to Moshe to speak to Yisrael and take from every Nasi his staff, twelve in total. Everyone should inscribe their name on it including Ahron who was representing Shevet Levi. Moshe Rabbeinu was to place the staffs in front of the Aron Hakodesh. The following day Moshe came into the Ohel and saw that only Ahron’s staff budded and blossomed with almonds.
This miracle of the staffs is truly incredible. The events that just preceded this was the earth opening its mouth and swallowing up Korach and his mishpacha, the children of Korach were found screaming from inside the earth Moshe and his Torah are emes, and two hundred and fifty people of the rebellion were burnt alive. Do we need further evidence from Hashem with the miracle of the staffs that the choice of Ahron and his Shevet were divinely correct?
Rav Ezrachi Shlita explains that the miracle of the budding staffs did not come to prove beyond doubt that Ahron and his Shevet were the right choice for their avodas Hashem. Rather the miracle of the staffs came to prove and clarify the reason why they were chosen for this special task. The answer is that they were always in budding mode, growth, change, and tikkun hamidos.
On the passuk (Tehillim 92 13) צדיק כתמר יפרח Chazal say that Dovid Hamelech is referring to Shevet Levi. They are likened to a palm tree that is blossoming. שתולים בבית ה’ בחצרות אלקינו יפריחו They are planted in the House of Hashem, in the courtyard of Hashem they will bud. The Chazal comment that they constantly bud and grow because they are planted by the Bais Hamikdash and never leave Hashem’s presence.
What is life? The answer is personal growth and a budding spirit. A staff has no life yet when Ahron’s name is inscribed on it; the lifeless staff is resurrected. The growth of Ahron and his Shevet manifested that the “dead” spots in one’s middos and avodas Hashem were challenged and then perfected, replacing it with life and renewed chiyus. There were no excuses such as, this is who I am and it is unchangeable. Every place on this dead disconnected wood, blossomed with new life and vitality. ואתם הדבקים בה’ אלקיכם חיים כולכם היום. This is Hashem’s definition of life. Every other interpretation is a definition emanating from the “created” and not from the sole “creator” of everything.
צדיק יפרח is gematriah 502 the collective years of the Avos. Avraham lived to 175, Yitzchak to 180 and Yaakov to 147. They were immersed with life budding and blossoming experiences every day which made them grow, change constantly, and become the spiritual giants for Klal Yisrael that they became.
Ahron’s staff ויצץ ציץ ושקדים it produced buds and almonds. However, ציץ also means perspective and look. When one experiences change then acquires he has a new perspective on the thing he upgraded. One has acquired a new appreciation for Shabbos, a freshness in his stale relationships; a depth and revised meaning in the mitzvah of learning Torah. Changes create new self – perceptions and assessments on one’s real potential. One becomes empowered to continue to bud in personal growth. מטהו יפרחhis staff will blossom is stated in the future tense. For change is not a one time inspiration. Rather it is a life style whose success inspires further future improvements and upgrades. There is no greater thrill than to possess the feeling of a personal Techiyas Hamaisim which is an other worldly experience.
The almond is the fastest blossoming fruit of the tree which grows in 21 days from the time the sap ascends the trunk. The sefarim say that 21 is gematriah אהי’ the name of Hashem which translates “I will be”. When one merits to bud and blossom, he stops to exist and starts to live. He has acquired the faith in himself and the secret of I will be, and to discover each and every day another brought hidden potential. Ahron’s staff was placed in the Aron Hakodesh next to the manna and the Luchos. A life of growth and changes brings one into the inner sanctuary to become one with Hashem and His Torah.
Next time you are searching for a unique B&B experience you don’t have to go on line to find it. Just look deep inside yourself with honesty, and by committing to begin an upgrade in your middos, conduct, or hashkafah, you have immediately restarted for yourself true living. As Rav Hirsh ztl writes tzameach (growing) is sameach (true found inner simcha) have interchangeable letters. For the Yid that is the only way to attain inner happiness.