Friday, April 27, 2007

Parshas Acharei Mos / Kedoshim 5767

For last year's Dvar, click here.

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-משֶׁה, אַחֲרֵי מוֹת, שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אַהֲרן--בְּקָרְבָתָם לִפְנֵי-יְהוָה, וַיָּמֻתוּ. וַיּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-משֶׁה, דַּבֵּר אֶל-אַהֲרן אָחִיךָ, וְאַל-יָבא בְכָל-עֵת אֶל-הַקּדֶשׁ, מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת--אֶל-פְּנֵי הַכַּפּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאָרן, וְלא יָמוּת, כִּי בֶּעָנָן, אֵרָאֶה עַל-הַכַּפּרֶת.

"And Ad-noy spoke to Moshe after the death of two sons of Aharon, who brought an [unauthorized] offering before Ad-noy and they died. Ad-noy spoke to Moshe: Speak to your brother Aharon that he not come at all times into the Holy [Sanctuary] that is inside of the Curtain, before the Ark-cover that is on the Ark so that he not die, for in a cloud I shall appear on the Ark-cover." (Sefer Vayikra, 16:1-2)

The Nesivos Shalom says that it seems, according to the pesukim, that the death of Aaron's sons (Nadav and Avihu) is connected in some way to the warning to Aaron that he shouldn't come whenever he pleases to the Kadosh haKedoshim/Holy of Holies. However, this connection is unclear and needs further explanation.

The Kli Yakar states on the verse, "that he not come at all times..." (ibid, 2), that the Kohen Gadol is only able to go to the Kadosh haKedoshim with the Koach of Klal Yisrael, and when the people of Israel are sinning acting improperly, it prevents the Kohen Gadol from going in, as he needs to rely on the merits of the rest of the nation for the strength to go to such a holy place. Thus, the Kohen Gadol would only go in once a year (Yom Kippur), because this was the one time a year that all of the Jews weren't sinning and they were acting properly. Again, there is a connection between the Kohen Gadol, one of the most important people in the Jewish community, and the rest of the Jewish people.

There are various sources speaking to the fact that Nadav and Avihu were on an exceedingly high level, and it is unclear why people on such a level would sin so grievously. There are many midrashim that offer explanations as to exactly what their sin was. Some say that they tought a halacha in front of their Rebbe; some say it was because they didn't have wives, etc. However, why do we need these reasons when we know that it explicitly states in the Torah that they brought a foreign fire? We know what their sin was! The Nesivos Shalom explains that the common thread between all of these aforementioned theories as to their deaths is that Nadav and Avihu refused to establish a connection with others around them. By saying a halacha in front of their Rebbe, they were showing that they didn't need that connection due to their stature. By not marrying wives they were showing that they didn't need the certain connection that a marriage offers. And only when they had this mindset of refusing a connection with others could they come to sin so grivously by bringing a foreign fire; they were saying that because of their stature, they should be able to act as they please.

Thus, it is now clear that there is a connection between the death of Nadav and Avihu and the warning to Aharon against coming to the Holy of Holies whenever he pleases. A Kohen who has the mindset of Nadav and Avihu, that they don't need to rely on others, will seemingly also fail to understand the importance of the Jewish people and their connection to the Kohen Gadol in his coming to the Holy of Holies. He'll think that he can rest on his laurels alone and come whenever he pleases, but we know from the Kli Yakar that he can only come when he has the full support of the merits of the Jewish people behind him.

There may be certain people who think that they don't need to rely on others for anything. This can lead to a very lonely life. We should realize that our friends, parents, and others are there for us to rely on for advice and other assistance. This, precisely, was the sin of Nadav and Avihu; that they refused to establish a connection with anyone around them.

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