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Nadav and Avihu -Playing with fire!

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One of the most joyous days in our history was the day of the completion of the construction of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. Sacrifices had been offered on behalf of the Jewish people to atone for the sin of the Golden Calf, fire came down from heavens and consumed the sacrifices indicating the atonement of the nation for that most damaging episode in our history. The Jewish people were elated and joyful having been reassured that the Divine presence would once again dwell in their midst.

Yet the joy and euphoria was short lived and transformed to doom. Tragedy struck as Nadav and Avihu, Ahron’s sons and two of the most outstanding men of their generation were killed when a fire descended from heavens and stuck them down.

And Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, took each of them his censer, and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not. And a fire went out from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. (Vayikra 10:1-2)

At that spiritually uplifting moment, which was all love and conjunction with God, Nadav and Avihu each took their censer, put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered the fire before God. And at that very moment, that spiritually uplifting experience was shattered into pieces, for a fire went out from before God and burned Nadav and Avihu who died before God.

Their deaths seem shrouded in mystery as to the precise cause of their sin that led to severe Divine retribution.

The Torah itself as quoted above points to 1) a strange fire 2) that He had not........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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