Before the sin of the Golden Calf, Hashem required that first-born sons should perform the sacrifices. However, after the sin, Hashem commanded that Aaron and his sons take charge of the priestly services. Moshe was saddened by the fact that none of his sons were chosen to be Kohans; however, Hashem assured to him,
“Your brother’s children are like your own!” When Hashem commanded that Moshe should go into Egypt and take the Jews out, Moshe refused to become the leader of the Jewish people, he felt that his older brother should take that oath. Moshe was so sensitive to his brother’s feelings, because he felt that his older brother should have the honor in redeeming the Jewish people, that he refused to listen to Hashem’s command. However, since Moshe displayed such disrespect in that situation, Hashem revoked Moshe’s title of Kohan. However, some opinions state that Hashem was going to give the position of priesthood to Aaron regardless of Moshe initial refusal in being the leader of Bnai Israel.
On a spiritual note, Moshe was not chosen for priesthood because the Kohan’s task in the Jewish community is to educate the people by personal example. The people in the community needed a man who was relatable to them and a man that could influence them. When Moshe was upset that Hashem chose Aaron over him to be the Kohan, Hashem said to Moshe, “The Torah was Mine and I gave it to you.” The Jewish people were unfit to receive the Torah directly from Hashem, they needed Moshe to be the medium, and Hashem had chosen Moshe to be that medium. Moshe’s role consisted of giving over the Torah to Bnai Israel.
Similarly, Hashem had chosen Aaron to be the priest for the Jewish people because Aaron was more in sync with the Jewish people. “One who educates the nation must come from within the nation and must be part of it” (Nachshoni 556). Moshe was on such a spiritual level that he could not relate to the people in the same way that Aaron could, Moshe stood beyond what Bnai Israel could comprehend.
Although Moshe was saddened by the fact that he lost his title of being the Kohan, he rejoiced in the fact that his brother was going to have this responsibility. From all this we can see how the leader of Bnai Israel was a man that was relatable to the entire nation. A great leader is not only a man who is higher in scholarship and status, but also a man who the entire community can relate to.