April 29, 2020 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm #1854870
Acharei Mos וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי ה’ אֵשׁ זָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה אֹתָם: ב וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי ה’ וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי ה’
“The sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, each took his fire-pan, they put fire in them and placed incense upon it; and they brought before Hashem an alien fire that He had not commanded them. A fire came forth from before Hashem and consumed them, and they died before Hashem” (10; 1-2).
Rashi (10:2) states that Nadav and Avihu were punished with death because they rendered a halachik decision in the presence of their teacher, Moshe. (They did not consult Moshe before lighting the fire)
The Gemara (Yevamos, 64a) however states that they died because they didn’t have children. As the Medresh (Vayikra 20:9) adds “and in connection with this, death is mentioned, as it says, And Nadav and Avihu died… and they had no children (Bamidbar 3:4)
The Medresh Rabbah (Vayikra 20:9) cites an additional reason. “Because they had drunk wine, and in connection with this, death is mentioned, as it says, Drink no wine nor strong drink… that you die not (Leviticus 10:9)
How do we reconcile this? Which sin was the cause of their death? Are perhaps these seemingly disparate aveiros related?
The Chasam Sofer in his Toras Moshe (Parshas Acharei Mos, first piece) writes that they are in fact related, and one is the cause of the other.
We all understand the basis for the Mitzvah of Kibbu Av V
em -honoring ones parents. But to fully appreciate the level of honor owed is not possible, until one marries and has children of their own.
Only after experiencing the pain of a child`s defiance or disrespect can one begin to realize where they themselves were lacking in respect towards their parents.
When one feels the exquisitely painful perfidy of a child
s misbehavior, thoughts like ““How can they do this to me? Dont they know what I went through for them?” come to the fore.
It is precisely then that a thinking person can be struck with the impact of their own misdeeds and disrespect towards the parents who raised them. Only then in retrospect, can one see where they were lacking in Kavod to their parents. Look at the pain my child causes me; just imagine what I put my parents through!
This painful but valuable lesson –of a child’s disrespect, is lost to the one who never had their own children.
Nadav and Avihu never married, they never had children- they never experienced what it feels like to be disrespected. They in turn never internalized the extent of respect that they owe others.
That is how they were able to render a decision in Moshe`s presence. It was disrespectful, yet they never learned the lesson from their own children of how painful disrespect can be. They could therefore come to dishonor Moshe in that way.
This then carried over on an even worse level when they entered the Mishkan after having drunk wine. This was not mere dishonor of a person; this is dishonor and disrespect of Hashem!
Yet it all stems, writes the Chasam Sofer, from the “crime” of not having children from whom to learn the lesson of Kavod.
The import of this is that the depth of honor towards our parents is something that should grow with time.
Even after we have grown up and perhaps seen that our own parents are not perfect, we still need to mature in the understanding of the debt of gratitude owed to those who raised us. Ruminating over all that we do for our children -and the onus we believe it places on them – should provide us with a direct view, of what our parents must have done for us and what respect we therefore owe them.April 29, 2020 1:45 pm at 1:45 pm #1854933
The Ksav Sofer in Parashas Shmini explains the expression מתי ימותו זקנים הללו ואני ואתה ננהיג הצבור when will these elders die and we will be leaders. It sounds very strange that they hoped that the elders will die and they will become leaders. They took a lesson from Moshe Rabbenu that his children did not behave properly because he did not have time to spend with them to raise them as he was busy with leadership. They said if they will die, we become leaders and we won’t be able to bring up our children properly. Therefore, they decided not to get married to have children. This was a strange fire figuratively in their mind as Chezkiya did not want to get married to have Menasheh.April 29, 2020 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm #1854967
I be honest. I should not have posted the Chasam Sofer because it puts The two Kedoshim in a bad light. Are they like us, they did not have pusheta derech eretz? It is a nice chasam sofer but I hope not true. The Ksav Sofer you mention again sounds nice but is also so uncomplementory. I know the vort very well, I have discussed it with big people. Are we ready really to believe that there must be a trade off. You are either a good father (Aharon) with good kids, or a good Manhig (Moshe) with not great kids? That is clearly the yesod the Ksav Sofer presents and therefore the dilemma that Nadav and Avihu faced. They were to be the next Manhigim (that is his up teich of the gemora in Sanhedrin) so they were stuck about what to do, and ended up choosing to serve as great manhigim f or the Klal and not have children. As a bochur I liked the vort but have been explained and agree that it is hard to believe. Do we not have gedolim who can be machanech their children? Are we saying it is either or? Are we saying Chas VeShalal that Moshe Rabbeinu was a lousy father?
Reb Eliezer, I am not writing this to criticize you. It’s just that I posted a vort that does go over well, but may truly be insulating and therefore wrong and wrong to say, and you go a cite the one vort that is so much more insulting or disrespectful to Moshe. This has nothing to do with you. It has been what I was mekabel from my rebbeim and which has now been naase.deleeApril 29, 2020 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #1855005
I wil try to put their drinking in a good light. They wanted to do the avodah with simcha, so they drank wine which also brought them to make mistakes. There error was that simcha should come from the avodah itself.April 29, 2020 4:19 pm at 4:19 pm #1855008
The Kol Aryeh, a talmid of the Chasam Sofer, explains the idea that the neshama wants constantly to return to its source. There are two things which hold it back, one fear and two the yetzer hara. Over here, there was no mitzva involved, so no yetzer hara. They performed their sacrifice completely from love. This is the meaning that their closeness to Hashem made them die. He expains another reason why the kohen gadol needed bells on his shirt. To wake him up from getting into a trance because of love.April 29, 2020 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #1855024
Maybe because of lack of time, Moshe Rabbenu overestimated his children and expected more from them.April 29, 2020 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm #1855018
From your vort above something was missing. It did not explain why they did not want to have children.April 29, 2020 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #1855042
Vort is complete. Toras Moshe does not say. His point was that that first fact, and loss of its attending lesson, was the goirem of the next two things for which these Kedoshim are faulted.April 29, 2020 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #1855044
“Maybe because of lack of time, Moshe Rabbenu overestimated his children and expected more from them.”
I would be wary of saying such about Moshe Rabbeinu. It is treating him like you or me. Regarding his sons: it is far from true to say that they were “bad” or not accomplished. Do not have it handy, but Yalkut Lekach Tov (Rav Byfus) in pinchus brings a chusheva pshat based on medroshim that his sons were gedoilei yisroel but they did not accomplish as much as they could. I think the lashon was that they were Chachomim but “were not miyageia”. Far from being failed children do to C’v Moshe’s neglect (as per a favorite sefer of mine, the Ksav Sofer) it was their not working as hard as they could, in contrast to Yehoshua who was Lo Yamush, that led to not being selected for leadership.April 29, 2020 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #1855074
I am explaining the Ksav Sofer that Moshe Rabbenu figured that his children will put more effort in their learning.May 4, 2020 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #1856900
As we are talking about fascinating peshatim, there is a fascinating Ramban this parasha on וחי בהם. He says that the rewards are provided according to the purpose for doing mitzvos. If someone does mitzvos to gain olam hazeh, he will be rewarded accordingly. If he does mitzvos for olam habo, his rewards will be set aside for olam habo. If he does mitzvos for itself, he will gain both worlds.May 4, 2020 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #1856911
There is also a fascinating Sefer Hachinuch mitzva 187, who explains that we don’t cover the blood of a behama because it went on the mizbeach as an atonement whereas most birds were not sacrificed with wild animals, so there blood did not go on the mizbeach being considered life which was put out, must be covered like being burried to show our dismay for death.
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