“Upon it (the Inner Altar) Aharon will bring the spice incense...” (30:7)
Advertising is the touchstone of contemporary society. The art of advertising is not to sell a product. It is to sell to people a perception of themselves that will result in their buying the product. Maybe the little blue stripes will keep your teeth looking brighter. Maybe they won't. What sells the product, however, is not the promise of brighter teeth. It is the lifestyle of people who have brighter teeth. As anyone who sees these ads should know, people with brighter teeth are never unhappy. They never feel tired. They flit effortlessly from one party to another. They jet-set across the world without a bank manager or mortgage in sight. And all for the price of a tube of toothpaste. Now that's what I call getting value for your money!
In an age where illusion has become reality, where people send wreaths to TV stations when soap-operas stars "die" and are written out of the script, selling the Brooklyn Bridge has never been easier. All you need is a lot of money. And airtime.
The truth, however, sells itself. It doesn't need to be trumpeted to the skies. Nothing is more infectious than the truth.
There is a Jew who sits in a most frugal apartment in Yerushalayim. He has never made any television appearances. He has never been interviewed on any talk show. No one has ever advertised him. And yet the Jewish world beats a path to his door when it needs a halachic decision. His status and fame come entirely from his piety, plus the fact that in virtually every area of Judaism he knows the law better than anyone else. And everyone else knows it.
In the Beit Hamikdash, the ketoret — the service of burning the incense — was performed away from the public eye, in private. Yet its scent could be detected as far as Jericho, more than twenty miles away.
When a person puts all his effort into living correctly, in accordance with the truth of the Torah, then, even though he may not broadcast his virtues, the nation will seek him out. His life may be a quiet understatement, but all his actions will radiate inner purity and holiness like a beacon.