"And Moses did as G‑d commanded..." (Num. 20:27) Why, "in the sight of all the congregation"? This was because Aaron was the most beloved by the nation1 and they should not say that he died at the hand of Moses. Moses drew Aaron with words until they ascended the mountain, and all of Israel watched while Moses removed Aaron's garments and robed Elazar with them.

What is the reason that it was Moses? It is because Moses was the one that put them on Aaron when he was elevated to the priesthood. It says that Moses clothed Aaron with the garments, and it is written "and clothed him with the robe." (Lev. 8:7) Moses then removed what he gave him and G‑d removed that which He granted him. Both of them undressed Aaron completely, Moses removed what was external and G‑d removed what was internal [his neshama]. As long as Moses did not complete his removal, G‑d did not complete His own. Happy is the lot of Moses.

Happy is the lot of the Just, since G‑d desires their honor. G‑d prepared (inside his burial cave) for Aaron a bed and candelabra of gold that gives light, from his own he took, from that lamp that he (Aaron) used to light twice every day (in the Tabernacle). He sealed the opening of the cave and they (Moses and Elazar) went down.

Rabbi Yehuda said: The entrance of the cave was wide open; all of Israel observed Aaron dead, and that the candle of the lamp was lit before him - his bed going out and in, with one cloud hovering above it. And it was then that Israelites knew that Aaron was dead. They noticed that the clouds of glory departed, as it is written "and when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead..." (Num. 20:29) And this was previously explained. Therefore, "they mourned for Aaron...all the house of Israel," men, women and children, since he was beloved by all.

Rabbi Shimon said: Why were these three holy elevated siblings not buried in a single area? And why were the limbs spread about, one here and one in another place? There are some who say that each one died at a location where Israel were destined to be in danger in the future, in order to defend Israel so that they would be saved. However, each one died as appropriate for him. Miriam [the Chariot for malchut] died in Kadesh, between North and South [as malchut is between the 2 arms of Zeir Anpin]. Aaron [the Chariot for chesed] was to the right direction [that of chesed]. Moses [the Chariot for tiferet, in the middle] as was appropriate for him [in the middle. G‑d] connected that [i.e. Moses’] mountain (Mt. Avarim) to Aaron’s mountain, and then gathered Miriam's burial ground to that mountain [i.e. Moses’], connected to both two sides [right and left, for the middle includes both right and left]. Therefore, it is called the 'Mountain of Avarim,' referring to the crossings (in Hebrew, ma'avarim') between the two sides of the mountain, joined with this side and that side.

Fortunate is the portion of the righteous in This World and the World to Come. Even though they are in another place, in another higher world, their merit endures in this world for generations to come. At the time that Israel repent before G‑d, and punishment is decreed over them, then G‑d calls upon the righteous, who remain in His presence above, and informs them. They void that decree and G‑d has Mercy on Israel. Happy are the righteous, about whom it is written, "and G‑d will guide you continually..." (Isaiah 58:11)

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?

When a known righteous Sage or Torah leader dies, we mourn his passing from our earthly plane. That is because it is our loss not to have his sacred presence amongst us to guide us, answer our questions, and to elevate us to higher places. But for the sake of the world, his memory is for a blessing. As well as he could do for us here, "there" in Heaven he can really assist our efforts - so much so, that his death can atone for the sins of the generation.

We learned above that the deaths of the three prophets Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were in special places for special reasons. Since all of "your people are righteous", then we too play a part in the cosmic play on earth as well as in Heaven. So our job is to find our true mission and to do it well.

What does the above mean to you, and why is it being revealed to you now?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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