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    Who took out the garbage? – Tzav

    trash canAaron the kohen gadol had the duty of taking out the garbage, clad in his priestly finery. The Jerusalem Talmud explains, “This is to teach you that rank does not count in the palace of the king.”

    The philosopher-ethicist Bachya ibn Pakuda comments, “The Creator required him to take out the garbage regularly in order to humble and humanise him and to remove conceit from his heart”. Aaron was a great man, but if a job needed to be done his rank and position were irrelevant.

    A synagogue president once said to me, “If the shule floors needed sweeping, I’d be the first to volunteer”. Indeed, doing a menial job like this is good for a leader. It prevents him or her becoming too high and mighty. A leader without people skills is like a general without an army. If a person is tempted to say, “I’m too important to be doing little things like this”, they ought to be looking at the example of Aaron.

    The rabbis point out that everyone bows four times during the Amidah – except for the high priest, who bows at the end of every blessing, and the king, who bows at both the beginning and end of every blessing.

    Rashi comments, “The greater you are, the more you need to humble yourself”.

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