Over 14 years ago, I first told this story, “Aharon’s Bells.” I thought it was time for a little editing and revision, so here it is.
"Ima, what is that sound?"
"Hush, little one, go to sleep."
"But Ima, I hear something tinkling."
"Yes Ima, like the sound all your bracelets, necklaces, and anklets used to make jangling together when you wore them - before you gave them to help build the mis...the miks...the mis.."
"Mishkan, little one."
"Mishkan, yes. Abba told me it meant a dwelling place for our G”d. [pause] Ima, do you miss your bracelets and all."
"Why, yes, precious, of course I do. But my gifts to help build this place for this G”d of ours to dwell with us wouldn't have been very good gifts if I didn't miss them."
"I don't understand, Ima. Why does our G”d keeping asking for things that are so important to us?"
”Think of all that G”d has done for us, my son. Freed us from Pharaoh, made the waters of the swamps dry up so we could cross. Leading us to the land promised to our ancestors long ago.
”But Ima, how do we know we’ll ever get there? How do we know G”d will keep his promises? Maybe G”d will get made at use again, and try to wipe us out, and Moshe won’t be able to talk him out of it again. Will we ever get there, Ima?
”You ask many interesting and difficult questions for a child so young. For now I can only tell you to have faith-faith in our G”d.”
"I miss them too, Ima."
"Your bracelets and necklaces."
"You miss them? Why would they be important to you, my child?"
"Well....Promise you won't laugh at me Ima?"
"Of course, my little angel, I won't laugh at you. Why do you miss my jewelry so much?"
"They jingled. I miss the jingling."
"You liked the pretty sound they made when they jingled?"
"No, Mama, that's not it. No the sound. It's how the sound made me feel."
"How did it make you feel?"
"All warm and good inside. Sometimes, Ima, I would wake up at night and be really scared. You and Abba weren't in the tent with me. But then I could hear the sound of your bracelets tingling and you knew you were right outside. And sometimes, too, when you were gone, I knew you were almost home when I could hear your bracelets jangling. I could always tell their sound from all the other sounds."
"You are such a sweet child. I can see why you do miss my jewelry."
"There it is again, Mama!"
"That tingling sound. It sounds a lot like the sound your jewels used to make."
"I don't hear...oh, wait, yes, there it is. Aha, I know what those are. Those are all the little bells on the hem of Aharon's priestly robe."
"Why does he have those bells on his robe?"
"I don't know, precious."
"Maybe it's so everyone knows when he's going into the Mis-er, Mishkan?"
"Maybe. Now go back to sleep, little one."
"Yes, dear one. Can't you sleep?"
"Maybe it's so G”d won't be surprised if Aharon sneaks up on him?"
"The bells, Mama. So he can't surprise G”d-and maybe even see what he shouldn't see and even...oh, my, he might even get killed. I remember how awesome G”d was that day when he spoke to us. Didn't the elders ask Moshe to ask G”d to stop speaking to us? He was so loud, Ima. I had to cover my ears. Everyone was covering their ears. Maybe Aharon would die if G”d didn't know he was coming?"
"Little one, I don't know where you get all these ideas and such a curious mind. Now go to sleep."
"Hush now! Go to sleep!"
[Softly, Ima begins to hum a lullaby, one she learned from her own mother while they were still in Egypt. When she senses her child asleep, she stops. Then silence. Then, in the distance, the soft jingling of tiny bells.]
"Ima? I hear the bells again."
"Shh! It's alright. Everything is good. Ima's here."
"I know, Ima. I know what the bells are for. It's just like your bracelets, Ima. When I hear Aharon's bells, I know that G”d is here with me, near me, even though I can't see or hear or touch. And that makes me feel all warm inside, just like you do, Ima. It scares me, but it also feels good, Ima."
"Our G”d has done great miracles for us, my little one. And you are one of them. Now go to sleep before I pray to G”d to turn you into a frog."
"Ima, I think some of the gold from your jewelry must have gone into Aharon's bells."
"Goodnight, Caleb. And some day may our G”d bless and curse you with a son as curious as you are!"
I wish you and yours a Shabbat Shalom.
© 2015 (portions ©2001, 2005 by Adrian A. Durlester
Other Musings on this Parasha:
Tetzaveh 5774 - It's Not Urim or Thummim
Tetzaveh/Shabbat Zachor/Purim 5773 - Fighting Dirty
Tetzaveh 5772-Perfection Imperfect
Tetzaveh 5770 - A Nation of Priests? (And a Shtickel of Purim)
Tetzaveh 5768-Light and Perfection
Tetzaveh/Purim 5767-The Urim & Thummim Show (Updated)
Tetzaveh 5766-Silent Yet Present
Tetzaveh 5765 and 5761-Aharon's Bells
Tetzaveh 5764-Shut Up and Listen!
Tetzaveh 5763-House Guest
Tetzaveh 5762 (Redux 5760)-The Urim and Thummim Show
Tetzaveh 5758-Something Doesn't Smell Quite Right