Silent Acceptance

Yael Eckstein  |  April 9, 2024

Young boy at the Western Wall praying.

Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:

“‘Among those who approach me
  I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
  I will be honored.”’

Aaron remained silent. — Leviticus 10:3

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Shemini, which means “eighth,” from Leviticus 9:1–11:47.

One of my greatest heroes is a woman of whom you have probably never heard. Her name is Rachelle Fraenkel, and in the summer of 2014, her son was one of three Jewish Israeli teens kidnapped on their way home from school. For 18 days, the entire country of Israel and many around the world rallied around the families and prayed that the boys would be found unharmed and returned to their families.

During this time of unprecedented unity and crying out to God, Rachelle said something amazing to the Israeli media. She said, “God does not work for us.” She wanted the world to know that prayer is always appropriate and appreciated, but that she accepted God’s will no matter what happened.

When it became clear that the boys had been killed by Palestinian terrorists within minutes of being kidnapped, Rachelle reacted as she had suggested she would. At the nationally televised funeral, we watched her grieve for her son, and yet she had a certain peace about her as she accepted God’s Will with no questions asked.

Silent Acceptance

This kind of strength—seemingly superhuman strength—is found in this week’s Torah portion, as well. In it, we learn that on what should have been a most celebratory day—the dedication of the Tabernacle—Aaron’s two sons were struck down and died after disobeying God by bringing an unauthorized offering to be sacrificed.

How tragic! And yet, we read, “Aaron remained silent.”

Aaron’s silence was an expression of acceptance. Aaron could have argued with God; he could have complained, or even sought to justify God’s actions. But his silence implied that he did not question God’s ways. As incomprehensible as they might seem, Aaron accepted that God’s ways are just and good—no matter what.

Through his silence, Aaron taught us one of the most powerful lessons for our lives. We can’t understand God’s ways, but God is always good. As the psalmist tells us, “His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30).

As Rachelle and Aaron’s silent acceptance both beautifully and amazingly demonstrated, we don’t need to understand God to have faith in Him.

Your Turn:

Today, accept everything that happens—the good and the bad—as perfectly arranged by God for your greatest good.