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Shabbat Nugget: Shemini- The Death of Aharon’s Sons

In this week’s Torah portion we learn about Aaron’s two son’s, Nadav and Avihu bringing a sacrifice to the Temple that they had not been commanded to bring.  They were punished for bringing this sacrifice by a fire descending and killing them.

There are various reasons given by the commentators as to why Nadav and Avihu deserved to die for bringing this particular sacrifice.

The famous commentator, “Ohr Hachaim” explains that Nadav and Avihu were on such a high spiritual level that when they brought this sacrifice their souls reached a complete attachment to G-d to the extent that it caused their souls to leave their bodies and they therefore died.

Yet this spiritual experience was considered a sin since G-d commands us to serve him in the physical plane with our physical bodies.

This idea can also be extended to teach us that we must be careful that our spiritual experiences do not distract us from our responsibilities.  There are times when our spiritual experiences can be so powerful that we find it is hard to pay attention to the seemingly minuscule demands of proper behavior and conduct.  However, we must keep in mind that the purpose of creation is that spirituality should not remain separate from the physical plane rather it should penetrate and make the world a home for Hashem.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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