From Today's Hakhel Email:
Special Note Two: One of the rare dates mentioned in the Torah is today’s date, the first day of Av (once again, last week’s Parsha!) What happened on this date? It is the day of the petira, the passing, of Aharon HaKohen. Chazal teach that the Ananei Kovod, the protective clouds of Glory, which surrounded us in the desert (and will once again surround us in the future) were in the Zechus of Aharon HaKohen (see Rashi on Bamidbar 33:40). Once the Ananei Kavod left us, the initial reaction of the outside world was to attack us, as is described in the Torah there (Bamidbar 33:40). What did Aharon HaKohen do for which he merited the protective clouds both for himself and for the rest of Bnei Yisrael? We may suggest the following: The Mishna in Avos (1:12) teaches that he was an Oheiv Shalom V’Rodef Shalom- that he loved peace and pursued it. The midah k’neged midah--the measure for measure reward becomes very evident. Because Aharon made peace among people, he merited peace being brought upon all of Klal Yisroel with the Clouds of Glory.
Indeed, Hillel in the aforementioned Mishna, enjoins us all to “Be among Aharon’s students” in this regard--to learn the value of peace among brothers. In a letter issued by HaRav Elyashiv, Shlita, and HaRav Shteinman, Shlita, they especially asked that we be very careful in these perilous times “not to fall prey to the opposite of Gemilas Chasodim” which is to cause pain or suffering to your friend. They point out that in the generation of the wicked king Achav, Bnei Yisroel were victorious at war because there was no Machlokes, no strife, among brothers. The Gedolim therefore request that we are “meod mishtadel”--that we put in greater effort at this time to make peace among ourselves.
PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: It is essential that we take the lessons of Aharon HaKohen, as specifically reiterated by Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shteinman very much to heart. We may even posit that the petira of Aharon HaKohen comes out at the beginning of the Nine Days to remind us that if we could rid ourselves of machlokes, of causing pain to others, and of the need quite to the contrary to love and pursue peace between and among ourselves, we can go a long way to bring immediate and long lasting Yeshuos. Let us at the very least focus on one or two people over the next few days and try to promote a peaceful or more peaceful relationship with them. Peace brings peace, for as Dovid HaMelech teaches in Tehillim (121:5)--”Hashem is Your Shadow.”