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by Daneal Weiner
(May this Torah be a zchus for a Refua Shlaima B'karov for a bochur who had
a terrible fall tonight.)|
Omer Tov! For the past two weeks we've learned quite a bit about the greatness of Nadav and Avihu. So this week I was thinking about a change. Pretty inane thinking since this week the Diaspora is reading
and the first of these two parshas opens with, "Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons..." So they're good enough for the Torah to bring up again but I should move on to other things??? If I were you guys I would stop reading this right... n-n-n-not yet...n-n-no not yet...n-n-n-now on the other hand, let's not be quick to judge.
Speaking of judging, it says in the Book of Iyov, 38:22-3, "Have you come upon the storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of hail which I have kept for a time of travail, for a day of battle and war?" Hashem is asking Iyov this question to make him realize the limits of his wisdom. The hail, as we saw by Egypt, Hashem uses when he judges the enemies of Israel. This info on the verse, however, is FYI! All in need is that the words "battle and war" in Hebrew are "krav u'milchamah". "Krav" which here means battle is the same three letter root of a word meaning "came close". The obvious connection between 'battle' and 'close' is "Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes." The two go hand in hand.
"Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons when they approached before Hashem, and they died." The word "approached" in Hebrew is "b'karvasam", from the same dual identity root word 'krav'. This enables us to retranslate the verse, "...after the death of Aharon's two sons in their battle before Hashem, and they died." They certainly didn't do battle with Hashem!! Before Him they came and put their lives on the line. What were they fighting for? No less than the Tikun Olam- redemption of the world! The time wasn't right, however. Hashem, in the very next verse, warns Moshe to tell Aharon "he shall not come at all times into the Holy [of Holies]" because certain things can be done only when the time is right.
In this chapter the Torah prescribes and describes for us the Yom Kippur service! It is from here that Chazal- our Sages ask, "Why is the death of the righteous mentioned in connection with the Yom Kippur service?" They answer, "Because just as Yom Kippur brings atonement, so too does the death of the righteous." The Sfas Emes takes it a step further and writes, "It seems Bnei Yisrael merited the Yom Kippur service by their [Nadav and Avihu's] hands and so we read this chapter on Yom Kippur"!!! Baruch Hashem!
Reveiwing some ideas from the death of Nadav and Avihu, like when it took place, back in Parshas Shmini the first Rashi says it was on the first of the month of Nissan. Although some feel the parshas name, Shmini- 8th, tells us it was the 8th day of the month of Nissan, Rashi asserts it was the 8th day of the inauguration of the Mishkan- Sanctuary, which fell out on the 1st of Nissan. He supports his assertion with the book "Seder Olam" which mentions 10 'crowns' which were taken by that day. It was a Sunday, the first day of Creation. It was the first day the regular alter service began. It was the first day the gifts brought by the princes were offered. It was the first time a fire descended from heaven onto the alter. If you haven't a Seder Olam, all 10 are brought down in ArtScrolls Sapirstien Vayikra as well. The one crown important to Rashi was for being the first day of the first month of the year. 1 Nissan. The New Moon.
Bnei Yisrael are sometimes depicted by the moon. After waning and seemingly disappearing, if you look hard enough you see we're still there. Then there is a rebirth. A new beginning. But THAT new moon, Nadav and Avihu knew there hadn't been a day like it since Creation. 10 crowns! (I don't know what it means either.) Such a strong power of hischadshus- newness! The time of the Tikun Olam, which is the time of the Mashiach, will be the ultimate in hischadshus! Nadav and Avihu wanted to take advantage of the force of these 10 new crowns, and bring the final redemption right then and there!
We have a glimmer of this hischadshus at various times on the Jewish calendar. On Pesach we were certainly given a new start. Every year we can tap into that power and throw off whatever chains that may bind us. We then count to Shavu'os, the day we received the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. They were "charus"- engraved on stone. Chazal say don't read it "charus" but "chairus"- freedom. Again a new beginning to draw energy from. Another new beginning is every Rosh Chodesh- the New month. Certainly Rosh Hashanah- New Years. Yom Kippur is a stronger dose still. It gives us atonement. A new slate. The most prominent manifestation of the force of the Mashiach, though, is the Yovel Year- the Jubilee.
Yovel occurs after 7 times 7 years. In the 50th year Hashem tells Bnei Yisrael that Yovel is a time to "proclaim freedom throughout the land for all its inhabitants." All slaves go free, whether they like it or not. Also all lands revert back to their ancestral owners. Everyone gets a fresh start. When does the proclamation occur? (25:9) "You shall sound a broken blast of the shofar on the 10th day of the 7th month, the Day of Atonement." Yom Kippur! We see the strongest force of hischadshus in the Yovel year which is tied securely into Yom Kippur, which brings it right back around to Nadav and Avihu.
Nadav and Avihu wanted to make it not just any Yovel year but the final Yovel year, so to speak! Rav Wolfson (you didn't think I came up with all this!?) says this is hinted at the end of our opening verse, "...when they approached/battled before Hashem and they died." In Hebrew that's "b'karvasam lifnay Hashem vayamusu", it's 4 letter acronym being the letters which spell "Yovel"!!!
The Zohar tell us Nadav and Avihu's souls wandered on earth a short time till they joined with Pinchas who we now was also Eliyahu. Eliyahu will Herald in that Yovel of all Yovels! Nadav and Avihu had the ability and they will bring it to fruition. As mentioned earlier, that time wasn't right for it. Hashem did say (16:3) "with this may Aharon come into the Holy [of Holies]". There are times and conditions that Aharon may enter. When we can glean a bit of the Hischadshus. For now, Nadav and Avihu's efforts have given us the Yom Kippur service!
As only Rav Wolfson can, he sums it all up with Hashem's aforementioned
warning not to bring the redemption early, "And he shall not come at all
times into the Holy [of Holies]" = 1024. Because when the time is right "I
send to you Eliyah the prophet." = 1024!
Not that Rav Wolfson needs my confirmations- I recall a vort from Parshas Shmini. When the Torah tells us of the death of Nadav and Avihu, there is much discussion over what their sin was. The Torah says about Nadav and Avihu, "each took his fire pan." They each thought to do the same thing and did it on their own. [You know what, I think I typed it on this very same computer... abracadabra........v'zing! ]
Chazal say this describes another shortcoming, that they acted individually, even while together. Had they discussed it with one another, played devil's advocate to each other, they would have realized their slightly less than 100% pure intentions which would have stopped them immediately. When Moshe tells the two surviving brothers to enter the Mishkan to remove the bodies he commands them saying 'kirvu', from the root 'karev' which means 'come close'. A strange verb to use. Moshe is warning them to be unified. The opposite of the sin.
This is a great vort! Till we come to this weeks Parsha where it says, "Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons when they approached before Hashem and they died." And the word "approached"- b'karvasam, is from the same root as the word Moshe used to command the brothers to stay united! So Nadav and Avihu did go in unified!?! Unless, like Rav Wolfson said, you translate it not from the root meaning 'near' but from the root meaning 'battle'!
All I need to do is run that past someone with a long white beard and find out if it's emes or fish rapping! (pun intended)
Coming up this week is Pesach Sheini- the Second Pesach and Lag b'Omer- the 33rd day of Sfiras HaOmer- the counting of the Omer. On the second day of Pesach an Omer offering was brought and from then Hashem commanded us to count 7 times 7 weeks till the Revelation on Mt. Sinai. These days are a time of introspection and working on self improvement. Although "S'firah" means count, in Kabbalistic terms it also means "sphere". There are 7 spheres or heavens which cloak the world. Each represents a force set in motion through which the world exists and it reflects similar forces which exist in the world itself. The 7 times 7 counting reflects the 7 spheres or forces divisible by the same 7 forces manifest within each other in nature. The Yovel year reflects this pattern and so too the S'firas HaOmer. Each day of the count is labeled paralleling this 7 x 7 matrix. (like 1a, 1b, 1c...1g, 2a, 2b, 2c...2g, 3a...etc. till 7g) Truth is, within the 7th of each 7 is found all 7. And all 7 in that. (That's 1A1a, 1A1b, 1A1c, etc. till 7G7g) Infinately. (That's...too much) This 2 dimensional array is enough to reflect this idea. One of the Sfiras (spheres) is called Hode.
Some of Bnei Yisrael who were contaminated Pesach time came to Moshe and asked why they should miss out on the Pesach offering. Chazal say they became contaminated because they were the ones carrying Yoseph's bones from Egypt or because they came across an unidentified corpse and fulfilled the commandment to bury it. Either way, their question to Moshe was, how could it be that fulfilling one command would render them ineligible for another? Surely an exception could be made? Not only those contaminated but also, at a later time, anyone too far from Jerusalem couldn't participate. There seems to be this underlying message that when Pesach, the time of redemption, comes, there are going to be some Jews that are not going to be redeemed! They are severely impure or too far off the beaten path! OY! Is there any hope for them?
This coming week we enter into the sfirah of Hode and the 7 forces represented within Hode. Recent Sages have said that Hode is the lowest of the Spheres. Both Pesach Sheini and Lag B'Omer fall in the week of Hode! Lag B'Omer even falls on Hode within Hode!!! Doesn't sound good. Just the opposite! Pesach Sheini is G-d's answer to the impure and far off brethren. "You're in!" Lag B'Omer is a day we remember Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the book on Kabbalah, the Zohar. 'Zohar' means 'beacon'. Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai saw the lowly state that Bnei Yisrael would reached and he took a glimmer of the light of the final redemption and he revealed it to the world in his mystical work. Symbolic of this illumination we have the custom of lighting bon fires on Lag B'Omer.
Although the most fitting time for our final redemption has past, the month
of Nissan, and we have not been redeemed, Hashem does not want us to loose
hope either! It can happen this 14th of Iyar just the same. And 2 is enough
to reflect the infinate! So the redemption can be the 14th of Sivan, Tamuz,
Av or any other day of the year and any time of any day of the year!
Like right n-n-n-now! N-n-n-now! Now! Ok, now! Now! Now!
[Even though Acharai Mos teaches the redemption which will come even at the
lowest times and in the lowest states, the second parsha this week says,
Now you now have yourselves now a glimmering, now, illuminating, now, holy Shabbot, now, Shalonowm!!!